Stuffed Quince

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Quince

Quince originated in the Caucasus region of Europe and predates apple cultivation. It may even have been the fruit of temptation in the Garden of Eden. To honor this, I adapted a recipe fromJerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (2012).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red chili, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • scant ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 Tbs. grated ginger root
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 8 cardamom pods, optional
  • 1 egg
  • 4 quince
  • juice of ½ lemon, plus 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • seeds of ½ pomegranate, optional

Directions

Mix ground meat, garlic, chili, bread crumbs, allspice, half of the cilantro, half of the onion, half of the ginger, egg, ¾ tsp. salt, and freshly grated black pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Halve the quince lengthwise. Put them in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice so they do not brown. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and core, hollowing out the quince halves. Keep any scooped out flesh. Fill the hollows with the meat mixture, using your hands to mound.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Chop any reserved quince flesh, then put into the pan with the remaining onion, ginger, and cardamom pods. Sauté for 10–12 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the maple syrup, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, chicken stock, ½ tsp. salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Mix well. Add the filled quince halves, with the meat facing upward. Lower heat to gentle simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes or until the quince is soft, the meat is well cooked, and the sauce has thickened. Remove lid to cook down the sauce if needed.

Serve warm, sprinkled with cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

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