I first had walnut stew while visiting my mum in Fredericton, NB. We were too tired to cook, and Cinnamon Café is the perfect place for tasty vegan take out. We ordered several dishes to share, but this stew is what stood out for me. I consider myself an adventurous eater but yet the flavours in this were unique to me. Needless to say I had to try making it at home.
The base of walnut stew is predominately, you guessed it, crushed walnuts. They are cooked down with onion, garlic, sweet potato and flavoured with pomegranate molasses. The result is a stew that is rich, tangy and slightly sweet. Saffron infused rice on the side is a must, as is a generous garnish of chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds.
Because this stew is quite rich and packs a pretty big flavour punch I like it best with other bites along side. Warm hummus with tons of sautéed mushrooms (link to recipe below) is an amazing accompaniment. When I had the take out meal I also loved veggie spring rolls with sweet chili sauce and warm flatbread on the side too. I didn't end up making the full ordeal at home but I totally would if I was planning to feed it to others.
Fesenjan is a stew from Gilan province, Iran. It is traditionally made with chicken, or other meat but I have used chickpeas to keep it vegan. Cubes of crispy tofu would be a wonderful choice too. I learned that Fesenjan is often prepared during winter solstice celebrations. "Shab-e Yalda" is an Iranian festival to celebrate the longest and darkest night of the year; families gather to eat, drink and read poetry late into the night. Sounds wonderful to me.
Recipe: Persian Walnut Stew - Fesenjan
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