Baked Beans with Pomegranate Molasses and Walnuts


    This Iranian dish is another example of sweet-and-sour baked beans. Middle Eastern baked beans are sweetened with pomegranate molasses, which also has a sour tang to it. You can find the pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern markets. The dish has a wonderful, complex mixture of textures and flavors.

    Make the Slow-Cooked Baked Beans template with the following additional ingredients and specifications:

    2 large sweet red onions, finely chopped
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1⁄3 cup pomegranate molasses
    1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, pulsed with the liquid from the can to a coarse puree (or 3 cups of Pomì strained tomatoes or grated fresh tomatoes)
    ½ cup (2 ounces) finely chopped walnuts

    1. Follow Step 1 of the template recipe, using white, red, or pink beans. Remove the bay leaf after the 1-hour simmer.
    2. Meanwhile, continue with Step 2. Use 3 tablespoons olive oil and the 2 red onions (in place of the 1 onion) and cook the onions until tender and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and add 2 minced garlic cloves and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the onions have melted down to half their original volume, another 15 to 20 minutes.
    3. In Step 3, stir the pomegranate molasses and tomatoes into the beans with the onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bake as in Step 4, baking the beans for 1 to 1½ hours.
    4. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top and drizzle on the final tablespoon of oil. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or warm.

    ADVANCE PREPARATION: You can make the dish through Step 3 up to 3 days ahead. You may want to add a small amount of water when you reheat. When the beans are bubbling, proceed with Step 4. You can make the entire dish ahead as well and reheat.