Lamb Fesenjan: Pomegranate Stew

lamb stew

I have been taking the cooking class of my culinary dreams, and the first few weeks focused exclusively on different kinds of meat. One of the dishes we made on lamb night was this wonderful pomegranate lamb stew, and its flavors were so unique that I had to make it at home. Lamb has a very specific flavor- almost floral to my palate, and honestly, I don’t like it. But I know that this stew is objectively fabulous. The pomegranate imparts a fresh, slightly tart flavor to the stew that is unusual but perfectly harmonized against the lamb’s earthiness. If you like lamb, this beautiful recipe is a must.


To make enough stew to serve 4-5 people, start off with 3 pounds of lamb meat that is suitable for stewing. My grocery store did not sell pre-cubed stewing lamb, so I got a 3 pound leg (without the bone) and cut the meat into 1 inch cubes. When preparing the meat, take care to remove the silverskin, which will not break down during cooking and will remain chewy. Most of the fat, however, should be left on. Heat a cast iron pot over high with some vegetable oil. In batches, brown the lamb cubes on all sides, and remove them to a side bowl. Once in the bowl, season the lamb with salt and pepper, and toss it with 1.5 tablespoons of flour, which will help thicken the stew.

lamb stew

While the lamb browns, chop 1 onion and mince 3-4 garlic cloves. When the lamb has finished browning, turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion and garlic to the pot. Pour in 16 ounces of pomegranate juice, and scrape all of the browned lamb bits off of the bottom of the pot. Preheat your oven to 325º F.

lamb stew

Once the onion has turned translucent, add the lamb cubes to the pot, and stir them around. Pour in enough chicken stock so that almost all of the lamb is covered. Season the stew gently with salt and pepper (it is better to under-season than over-season at this point). Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then put the lid on the pot. Put the pot into the oven, and let it cook for about 1.5 hours or until the lamb is fork tender.


When your lamb has fully cooked, strain out all of the lamb, onion, and garlic pieces, and transfer them to a side bowl. Strain any fat off of the top of the stew. Then, bring the liquid to a boil, stirring frequently, until it reduces into thicker and more flavorful sauce. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the lamb and vegetables back into the stew to keep warm.

lamb stew

When you are ready to serve the stew, toast some chopped walnut pieces in a dry pan, and remove the seeds from a pomegranate. Serve the lamb stew over cous cous, and garnish it with the walnuts and pomegranate seeds. While the garnish is absolutely beautiful, it is also delicious and adds a lot of flavor, so don’t skip it. Although my taste buds remain hostile to lamb, I will not hesitate to make this stew again for lamb-loving guests.

Shopping list:

  • Lamb leg- 3 pounds, cubed
  • Onion- 1
  • Garlic- 3 to 4 cloves
  • Pomegranate juice- 16 ounces
  • Chicken stock- approximately 1 quart
  • Walnuts- approximately 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Pomegranate- 1
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Lamb Fesenjan: Pomegranate Stew — 4 Comments

  1. That’s an interesting interpretation of lamb fesenjoon. Traditionally it can also be made with turkey, the walnuts are usually grounded and it’s served over rice instead of couscous. Oh and you use pomegranate paste not juice in the traditional recipe. You can find pomegranate paste in any persian grocery store it has a very intense sour/sweet flavor to it.

    Your version looks very pretty.

  2. It makes me very happy that, even though you don’t like lamb, you realize this is a Winning Dish! To this lamb loving girl, this procedure really hits it out the park. I will definitely be trying this. Wow!

  3. This sounds delicious but it’s not fesenjoon. Fesenjoon is cooked with walnuts that have been ground into a paste and simmered for at least an hour till the walnut oil is also imparted.

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