Fesenjan (Duck Stewed with Pomegranate and Walnuts) – Better Later Than Never!

Sorry for the delay, but if there's anything that deserves the “better late than never” tag, this duck fesenjan is it. A savory stew featuring duck, pomegranate, and walnuts, which is every bit as exotic as it sounds.

Keep in mind, I’m brand-new to Persian food, so this is just my interpretation of the ancient classic. I’m assuming like most similar recipes, every household has their own version, and this kind of thing can be obviously, and easily be tailored to your tastes.

The ingredients are simple and easy to manipulate. If you have trouble finding pomegranate syrup, or pomegranate molasses as it’s sometimes called, check out the online retailers, but you can actually make your own.

If you want to try, check out this recipe from my friend Elise, from Simply Recipes. It takes an hour or so, but its usefulness goes far beyond this duck recipe. By the way, if you're not down with Simply Recipes, you really should be. Elise has an amazing collection of recipes. 

Regarding the duck, I like to sear the meat in a pan, since you'll get faster and deeper browning. The high sides of a Dutch oven can sometimes hold in moisture and you won’t get the same results. As long as you deglaze the pan, nothing is lost.

Other than that, it’s a very straightforward recipe. Just stew everything until the meat is tender, but not totally falling apart; then reduce the sauce until as thick and intensely flavored as you want. I really hope you give this Persian duck stew a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 to 10 Duck Legs or chicken leg quarters, seared in vegetable oil until browned
1 tbsp reserved duck fat
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onion
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
6 cups chicken broth, or more as need to adjust liquid levels
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup pomegranate syrup aka molasses
3 cups walnut halves, ground
salt and pepper to taste