Fesenjan, Duck with a walnut and pomegranate sauce

Most Saturdays you can find me in the Adelaide Central Market flogging my wares, you could say, I have been doing tastings of the Spice Road range outside of Jagger fine foods. A few weeks ago I did a tasting of Spice Road to Syria by cooking the baked eggplant with yoghurt, olives and pine nuts dish and the Persian chicken in a pomegranate and walnut sauce. Pomegranates are in season so I sprinkled the seeds of one over the chicken dish. This not only looks pretty it gives a burst of fresh fruity flavour to the dish and with walnuts in the sauce the crunch of the seeds goes unnoticed. So anyway, I was asked a few times if I know an easy way to get the seeds out of the fruit. There is a way, you just cut it open, peel some of the membrane away to free the seeds, turn the fruit over in your hand and whack it on the skin side with a wooden spoon. The seeds come spurting out quite nicely.

I have started another blog called ‘The whole is greater…than the sum of its parts’ as I didn’t want to become the mad duck woman that only eats duck and has 45 cats in her house. Also and truthfully I want to practice food photography and have somewhere to ‘publish’ photos as it makes you complete the job to a higher level than you would otherwise. It has happened that I have cooked two dishes recently involving walnuts and pomegranate, one here and the other over on ‘the whole is greater’ is Chillies en Nogada which is a Mexican dish of stuffed chillies with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. Have a look. Meanwhile……..Fesenjan.

The recipe for Fesenjan, Persian chicken or duck in a pomegranate and walnut sauce is on the Spice Road website or in the packet of Spice Road to Syria. Here is a recipe for the same dish starting from scratch. This dish, usually a whole roast duck served on saffron rice and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds would be served on special occasions. I have used duck legs seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted on a bed of onions for 1 1/2 hours which is one of my favourite ways to cook duck, I have done the same for different dishes here and over here on my friend Sarah’s blog ‘oh for the love of food’.

Fesenjan, Duck with a walnut and pomegranate sauce.

duck legs roasted as above

saffron rice, will leave that up to you

seeds from 1 pomegranate, optional garnish

2  tbsp olive oil

40 g unsalted butter

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

200g walnut halves, coarsely chopped

1 cup chicken or duck stock

2 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses/ syrup

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp brown sugar

salt and pepper

Heat oil and butter and cook onion until softened and golden, add garlic and soften. Add walnuts and brown lightly. Add stock, pomegranate syrup, juice, sugar, salt and a few turns of black pepper. Simmer until reduced and quite thick, about 10 minutes. Serve duck legs on a bed of saffron rice, surround with sauce and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Special thanks to Sharon and Jess for the pomegranates.


11 thoughts on “Fesenjan, Duck with a walnut and pomegranate sauce

  1. Thanks Lucy
    You are such a mine of information and the phots on both sites are wonderful
    I loved all the salt information
    I have to cook more of the recipes!!!

  2. I love that botanical drawing of the pomegranate plant (as well as the burst open photo below). This is another simple recipe for what looks and sounds like a luscious dish – I’ve got the duck legs in my freezer to make the one with quinces.

  3. Oh m lordy, oh my lordy! That looks fantasmagorical! And since today is apparently the end of the world, Id better quickly get to making it. But if the Earth keeps on rolling, which I am expecting, I guess I can do it next week. And then I could try those salt and pepper duckies too . All looks so yummy!! Thanks!

  4. I cant find anywhere on “the sum etc ‘ to leave a comment. All I wanted to say was you ate 1/2 an apple! Thats fruit! Ha! Fruit! Also I am now so informed about salt. Will I ditch the saxa?

  5. A Persian friend once prepared a duck “stew” recipe for me, and it was the best wild duck I have ever eaten. I have lost track of my Persian friend, and never had the recipe, which I would like to recover. The recipe did not include beans, lentils, pomegranate or walnuts, although the stew was served with the wonderful saffron-enhanced Iranian rice described above. Spices were weighted toward cumin and tumeric. The stew was colored more like Burgonye than the dishes here, but still showed subtle green hues. Does anyone have any farmiliarty with such a preparation?

      • I never thanked you for this information – thanks. I don’t think it’s recipe I was looking for, but I may adjust it a bit – pomegranats instead of dried limes, more tumeric and cumin, and less fenugreek. I will let you know.

        Still can’t fine my Persian friend. He was a wonderful ballet dancer, performed all over the world, with Houston Ballet and other companies.

  6. I would like to make the dish with duck legs, but cannot find fresh duck legs in stores near my home. Should I use confit, or can I use duck breast instead? Or should I pass on the duck and use chicken?

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