Pomegranate Walnut Stew with Black Lentils

Pomegranate molasses is a tangy, tart and distinctive flavor traditionally used in Middle Eastern cooking. Bottles vary in flavor. Some are more sweet and some more tart. If you are lucky you live in a major city, you can try different brand to determine your favorite. Flavors of the world inspire me. This stew is from Iran. This stew is traditionally made with meat, but lentils hold their own in this stew. In cold winter months, it is wonderful to spend an afternoon cooking or baking. Some recipes shouldn’t be rushed. Take your time. Rich aromas from the kitchen will fill your house. Invite some friends over and enjoy!

Pomegranate Walnut Stew with Black Lentils

Place the walnuts in a food processor and blend until finely ground into a paste, about 2 minutes.

In a large saucepan, place the pomegranate molasses, salt and turmeric and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the molasses bubbles. Add the walnut paste and vegetable broth and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the sauce for 1 hour to 1½ hours, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Add a little broth if the mixture gets too thick. The color of the sauce will change from a pale color to a rich brown color.

In a large skillet over medium heat, pour in the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and carrots and cook until the onion turns translucent. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the mixture until the onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes.

While the onions and carrots are cooking, in a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup black lentils with 4 cups of hot water. Simmer for 22-25 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain in a colander, then add the cooked lentils, cinnamon and golpar to the pomegranate walnut sauce. Add the caramelized onions and carrots and cook over low heat 20-30 more minutes. Add some vegetable broth if the mixture gets too thick. 

For serving – Serve with cooked basmati rice and a platter of fresh herbs and radish slices..

serves four to six

STEW

  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tsp blue Persian salt 
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, more if needed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup black lentils
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp golpar, optional

FOR SERVING

  • cooked basmati rice

FRESH HERB PLATTER

  • an assortment of fresh mint leaves, parsley, cilantro, dill fronds and coarsely chopped scallions
  • radish slices