You probably don’t make Persian food enough, which is why you should cook your way through culinary authority Jila Dana-Haeri’s From A Persian Kitchen. Learn to make rich khoresh sauces and the rice dishes that love them, bright salads, hearty soups, a million uses for pomegranates and fresh herbs and no shortage of delicious meat.
This dish is a variation on the traditional duck fesenjan, which is a thick khoresh. I prefer to roast the whole duck separately because I can discard the fat that is generated during cooking. The pomegranate and walnut sauce is rich, so it is preferable not to cook the duck in it as the dish would be too oily.
- 1 (4 1/2 - 5 pound) duck
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons walnuts, shelled
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups pomegranate syrup
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 425°F.
- Wash the duck and thoroughly dry it.
- Cut off the end bits of the wing and remove the excess fat from the cavity.
- Place the duck, breast-up, on a roasting rack in a tin and with a sharp knife make a very shallow slit diagonally through the breast skin on both sides and pierce the skin of the legs. This helps the fat to drain better.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let it stand in room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.
- Peel and finely chop the onion.
- Grind the walnuts in a food processor.
- Pour the honey all over the duck and place it in the middle of the oven, breast-up; roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn the duck over, breast-down, and discard the fat that has collected in the tin.
- Return to the oven and roast for a further 30 minutes.
- Repeat the procedure; remove from the oven, turn the duck on its back, discard the fat and return to the oven; reduce the temperature to 350°F and roast for 1 1/2 hours.
- To check whether the duck is ready or not, poke a skewer into the thickest part of the leg: the juices should run clear.
- Whilst the duck is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a heavy-based saucepan heat the oil and fry the onion to golden, add the ground walnuts, stir, and fry for a couple of minutes; add the chicken stock, the pomegranate syrup and the sugar, stir well, reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes. The sauce should be thick and practically black.
- Check the seasoning; add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter or add more pomegranate sugar for a sharper taste.
- Take the duck out of the oven 15 minutes before serving to allow it to rest.
- Cut the legs from the hip joint and the breast into halves across the wishbone.
- Arrange the pieces in a shallow serving dish, garnish with fresh mint or parsley. Serve the sauce in a bowl.
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