Fesenjoon - Pomegranate Walnut Stew With Tiny Meatballs
- 500 g ground meat (beef or lamb)
- 1 large onion, minced/grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce (optional)
- 2 cups walnuts, finely grounded
- 1 to 1 ½ cups pomegranate paste or pomegranate molasses
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 cup Ribena (for sweetness and darker colour)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron, grounded and dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons hot water
- 1 teaspoon Marmite (optional)
- salt and black pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl add the ground meat, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and turmeric. Mix thoroughly. Make small size meatballs (yields about 90 meatballs) and set aside.
Transfer meatballs to a pot over medium heat. Add Worcester sauce (if using) and cover the pot. Stir every few minutes until all sides of the meatballs are brown.
Dissolve tomato paste and Marmite (if using) in a cup of boiled water.
Add liquid saffron, 1 cup of boiled water and tomato/Marmite water to the pot. Cover the pot and bring the contents back to the boil.
Add ground walnuts, stir well. Add pomegranate paste and sugar along with Ribena. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours on low heat using a heat diffuser or simmer mat. Continue cooking until you see the walnut oil surfacing.
Occasionally gently stir the stew. Add more water if needed. Adjust seasoning to suit tastes. If you prefer a sweet Fesenjoon add more Ribena to the stew to make it sweeter, if you like it sourer add more pomegranate paste. However, the taste should be a wonderfully well balanced mix between sweet and sour.
Serve hot with steamed basmati rice.
“Noosh-e Jaan”! (Enjoy!)
The traditional way of making Fesenjoon does not require Worcester sauce, Marmite, tomato paste or Ribena. The two most important ingredients for this dish are pomegranate sauce and walnuts.
You can make this stew with poultry, game birds, venison, or fried aubergine (egg plant) slices for a vegetarian option.