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Faisinjan (Iran)
(DUCK OR CHICKEN IN POMEGRANATE SAUCE)

1 duck or chicken, cut into quarters
2 - 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
250 g (8 oz) chopped or pounded walnuts
4 pomegranates or 3 tablespoons concentrated pomegranate syrup and 450 ml
(3/4 pint) water
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon sugar
150 ml (1/4 pint) water
salt
pepper

Brown the duck quickly in hot oil in a large heavy pan. Remove the
pieces and fry the onion in the same oil until it is rich brown,
stirring occasionally. Add the walnuts which should not be too
finely ground (you should be able to feel them) and cook gently,
stirring often, for about 2 minutes.

To extract the juice from the pomegranates, cut in half, scoop out
the seeds (discarding the pith) into a blender or processor and
blend a few seconds, enough to break the delicate skin surrounding
the seeds. Pour into a bowl through a strainer, squeezing out all
the juice. There should be at least 300 ml (1/2 pint). Pour into
the pan and add lemon, sugar, water, salt and pepper. Bring to the
simmer, stir and add the duck or chicken pieces and cook gently
for 1 to 11/2 hours until they are very tender. Taste and adjust
the delicate balance between sweet and sour by adding more lemon
or more sugar. If it is duck that you are using, remove as much
fat as you can from the surface with a spoon. The sauce may be
thinned with a little more water. If you are using pomegranate
syrup, stir it into the walnuts and onions in the pan and add 450
ml (3/4 pint) water.

Serves 6 people generously.

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