Kabab Torsh (Sour Pomegranate and Walnut Kebab) from Naz Deravian's "Bottom of the Pot"

Kabab Torsh (Sour Pomegranate and Walnut Kabab)

Pomegranates and walnuts go hand in hand in northern Iranian cuisine, whether mixed with olives in Zeytoon Parvardeh, in stews like Khoresh Fesenjan, or as a marinade in these tangy kabab. The meat is initially pounded with the blunt edge of a knife to tenderize it, similar to the technique in Kabab Raminy. You can skip this step, but it really adds to the delicate texture of the kabab. Serve Kabab Torsh with rice and plenty of fresh greens and alliums—Sabzi Khordan—to ease the digestion of the red meat. These kabab need the overnight marinade, so plan accordingly.

serves 6

For the Kebab

  • 2 pounds beef top sirloin, fat trimmed, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 11/4 cups pomegranate molasses
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice or Seville orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (about 20 leaves), or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds, as a garnish (optional)

For the Baste

  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter or unsalted butter or olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice or Seville orange juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper

Tap each piece of meat vertically with the blunt edge of your knife. Don’t cut through the meat, just tap lightly back and forth to flatten and tenderize the meat. Cut the pieces against the grain into 1-inch kabab pieces. Set aside.

Place the onion, walnuts, garlic, pomegranate molasses, lime juice, mint leaves, oil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz to a paste. Place the meat in a large resealable plastic bag or a container and slather with the marinade. Place in the fridge and marinate for 24 hours.

Remove the meat from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Skewer the kabab on large flat metal skewers or double skewers. Brush off any excess marinade so as not to burn it on the grill. In a small pot, melt the butter or heat the oil for the baste. Stir in the lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a grill until hot and oil the grates. Grill the meat, turning and basting, until desired doneness of meat, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot off the grill. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if using.

Excerpted BOTTOM OF THE POT: Persian Recipes and Stories by Naz Deravian. Copyright © 2018 by Naz Deravian. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Eric Wolfinger.