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My cookbook: "Tehran to New York"

On the Norouz day of 2020 spring, I finally published my book. The manuscript is titled: "Tehran to New York: A culinary bridge between Persian and Western cultures" and aims at presenting a unique blend of classic and contemporary Persian recipes, as well as samples of Western-style cuisine, offered in a Persian context. It is important to build bridges between cultures, and not walls. This book aims at constructing a bridge between the Persian and Western cultures. The book may be ordered here:
https://www.amazon.com/Tehran-New-York-culinary-cultures-ebook/dp/B0861H47GS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=tehran+to+new+york&qid=1584810930&sr=8-1

Narsun; the medieval Persian walnut and pomegranate stew

In previous posts (1st, 2nd), I reconstructed two recipes from "A Baghdad Cookery book," a collection of ninth century recipes from the court of Islamic caliphs.  The book depicts a magnificent cuisine, believed by historians to have been directly imported from both the court of Sassanian Empire kings and the dining banquettes of elite castes of the highly aristocratic Persian society. For this last recipe of the medieval Persian trilogy, I focus on Narsun, the ancient version of the contemporary Fesenjoon. Fesenjoon, as introduced here, is a luscious Persian stew, comprised of a fruit element (most commonly pomegranate molasses) and some kind of nut (most commonly walnuts).
There are two reported recipes in “A Baghdad Cookery book” similar to the modern-day Fesenjoon; “Narsun” and “Nirbaj,” namely. The former is a recipe for a more sour version of the dish since it calls for red wine vinegar (“Nar” means pomegranate in Middle Persian and “Sūn” is driven from the word “Sirk” which means vinegar in Middle Persian); the latter is a recipe for a sweeter version which calls for smashed raisins instead of vinegar. Both the versions involve spices (e.g. cumin, coriander, mastic, and cinnamon) that are not used in the contemporary preparations. The other minor difference is the use of mint. The contemporary Fesnjoon recipes do not call for mint or other herbs. However, there is a Caspian version of the dish, calling for dried mint and other local herbs. The dish is called “Anarbij” and is made with meatballs instead of the commonly used chicken. The name Anarbij clearly shares the same linguistic roots with the word Nirbaj. Besides, in both dishes, meatballs are used in the preparation.   

Here is my developed recipe based my interpretation of the text from the old book.  

Ingredients:
1.1 Pounds (~500 gr) boneless lamb shoulder
(or 1.65 Pounds ~750 gr bone-in)
1 cinnamon stick
½ TSP coriander powder
½ TSP cumin powder
¼ TSP mastic powder
1 TSP black peppercorns
20 small leaves of mint, finely chopped
4 Ounces (~115 gr) walnut meal or broken pieces
1 cup sweet pomegranate juice
¼ red wine or sherry vinegar
1 TSP dried mint
1 TBSP rosewater (optional)
1 Ounce (~28 gr) broken walnut pieces
Meatballs:
8 Ounces (~225 gr) 80/20 ground lamb, preferably cold
2 TBSP granulated onion
½ TSP salt
 ¼ TSP ground black pepper
¼ TSP cumin
¼ TSP coriander

Make the meatball by mixing all the ingredients and forming golf-size balls. In a large skillet, toast the walnut meal and set aside. In the same hot pan, which is set on medium-high heat, brown the meat, as well as the meatballs. Remove the meatballs and set aside. To the same pan add the spices and fresh mint. Toast in the oil for thirty seconds. Reduce the heat to low.
In the meantime finely puree the toasted walnut meal, caramelized onions, pomegranate juice, and vinegar. Add the blender contents, along with enough water to stew the meat, to the pan. Cover the pan and cook for 45~50 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked. Return the meatballs to the pan, crumble the dried mint on the surface, and add the rosewater. Cook for five more minutes. Serve with toasted broken walnut pieces.
Serve with Persian rice.

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