Duck with pumpkin and cinnamon

Duck with pumpkin and cinnamon

Mark Roper

This is a lovely combination for a khoresht, albeit entirely my own invention. Pumpkin has a natural earthy flavour that complements the sweet richness of duck meat. Personally, I think you could add a touch more heat – perhaps a second long green chilli or a pinch of cayenne – although I do know that too much spice is frowned upon by Iranians.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 duck marylands, separated through the joint and trimmed of excess fat
4 shallots, finely sliced
1 long green chilli, seeded and finely shredded
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 litre good-quality chicken stock
200g dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
500g peeled pumpkin, cut into wedges
generous squeeze lime juice
coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)


  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the oil to make a paste. Massage the spice paste into the duck pieces, coating each thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a medium–high heat. Brown the duck pieces, turning so they colour evenly. Lower the heat and add the shallots, chilli and tomato paste. Cook gently until the shallots begin to soften. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and stock, then add the drained beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1–1½ hours, or until the duck is very tender. From time to time, skim away any impurities that rise to the surface.
  3. Stir in the tomato and salt. Tuck in the pumpkin pieces and squeeze in the lime juice. Cover the pan and cook for a further 20–25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is very tender, but not so long that it disintegrates.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves, if using, and serve straight away
Middle Eastern
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