Great to see a bit of Ottolenghi weather hitting, I was gifted a bag of homegrown Quince from my friend Sarah Benjamin last week ……. so turned to the Lamb-stuffed quince with pomegranate and coriander recipe in the Jerusalem cookbook…YUM!
” This is a sunning dish that we always of back to. We regularly teach a simplified version in our Saturday morning classes at Leiths cookery school in London. There we don’t stuff the quince but just dice it and cook it in the sauce with the meat filling shaped into meatballs. We recommend doing that if you don’t have the time or the inclination to suff the quince ( it is a pretty hardy fruit!). You could use hard pears as an alternative. Another variation is based on a Persian dish, Khoreshtbeh, which calls for lamb or beef cubes, chopped onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, sliced quince, lemon juice and sugar. All these are cooked together very slowly to make a sweet and sharp stew.
400g minced lamb
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chilli, chopped
20g coriander, chopped, plus 2 tbspto garnish
2 tbsp finely grated ginger ( 40g in total)
2 medium onions, peeled snd finely chopped z9 220g in total)
1 mediumfree-range egg
4 quince ( 1.3kg in total)
1/2 a lemon, squeezed plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
8 cardamon pods
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
2 tsp sugar
500ml chicken stock
seeds of 1/2 a pomegranate
salt and pepper.
Place the lamb in a mixing bowl along with the garlic, chilli, coriander, breadcrumbs, allspice, half of the ginger, half of the onion, egg, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. mix well with your hands and set aside.
Peel the quince and halve them lengthways. Keep them in a bowl of cold water with squeezed half lemon so that they do not turn brown. Use a melon baller or small spoon to remove the pips and then hollow out the quince halves so that you are left with a 1.5cm shell. Keep the scooped-out flesh. Fill the hollows with the lamb mix, using your hands to push it down.
heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan for which you have a lid. Place the reserved quince flesh in a food processor, blitz to chop well and then transfer this to the pan along with the remaining onion, ginger and cardamom pods. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, until the onion has softened, then add the molasses, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, sugar, stock, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Add the quince halves to the sauce, with the meat stuffing facing upwards, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes. At the end the quince should be completely soft, the meat well cooked and the sauce thick. Lift the lid and simmer of a minute or two to reduce the sauce if needed.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with the coriander and pomegranate seeds.
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