The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Kids Make Pomegranate Stew

February 10th, 2013 · No Comments · Posted in kids, Recipes

Khoresh: a classic Persian stew

Pomegranate may well be the national fruit of Iran and along with other classic Persian ingredients such as walnuts, saffron and cinnamon figures prominently in this savory stew or khoresh.

Traditionally, pomegranate is paired with duck in this dish and you can imagine how the gameyness of the duck would pair well with the sweet and sour of the pomegranate. Alas, duck is not so readily available here–or affordable–so we substituted chicken. The result was still fabulous with plenty to keep the kids in our food appreciation classes busy along the way–like grinding toasted walnuts in our big mortar and pestle.

A couple of things you’ll want to start before you get to the meat of the recipe, as it were:

First, toast 1/4 pound raw walnut pieces in a 350-degree oven. Just spread them on a baking sheet and remove when they are browned but not burned–about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, steep a generous pinch of saffron threads in 1/4 cup steaming hot water. Grind the threads between your fingers and into a small measuring cup, then add the water. Set aside.

For the stew, saute 1 medium onion, diced small, in a heavy skillet over moderate heat in 2 tablespoons ghee (or substitute your favorite vegetable oil). Ghee is obtained by melting butter and separating the oil (or ghee) from the solids. If you go the vegetable oil route, you can also add a bit of butter to the onions while they are sauteing for flavor.

Kids love slicing vegetables

When the onions have softened, after about 5 minutes, add 12 ounces chicken breast cut into thin strips about 1-inch long. Raise the heat if necessary to lightly brown the chicken. Then stir in 1 large carrot cut into thin match sticks. Continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Pulverizing walnuts with mortar and pestle

While the stew is cooking, pulverize the toasted walnuts. Because we like the kids to cook with their hands–not electric gadgets–we did this with our mortar and pestle, but you could use a food processor. To the walnuts add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and the saffron water. Stir in about 2/3 cup pomegranate juice, or just enough to make a sauce the consistency of thick cream. (The original recipe calls for pomegranate paste, and I considered using some of the pomegranate molasses I have on hand, but pomegranate juice is now widely available in U.S.supermarkets and works just fine.)

Stir the walnut/pomegranate mix into the stew, bring to a boil, the lower the heat, cover and cook gently until the carrots are tender, about 40 minutes. If the sauce seems a bit thick, just stir in some more pomegranate juice. Serve hot with your favorite rice.

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