Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Q - Quince stuffed with Lamb, Pomegranate and Coriander

A photograph of Quince Stuffed with Lamb Pomegranate and Coriander
Quince Stuffed with Lamb Pomegranate and Coriander

“This is a stunning dish that we always go 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 stuff the quince (it is a pretty hardy fruit!).”

– Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi,‘ Jerusalem’

More photographs inside.
A photograph of fresh Quince
Fresh Quince

From the very start of the project, we decided to cook this dish from our favourite cook book, ‘Jerusalem’, for ‘Q’ – we’d never worked with quince before and thought this was as good an opportunity as any to take the plunge. Fortuitously, this week, we found an abundance of quince at the green grocer, so we piled up our trolley and scuttled home with our bounty.

If we had known how time consuming it would be to hollow out the quince, we would have been sorely tempted to try the simplified version that the authors mention in the introduction – to say that it was a herculean task is by no means an understatement. The fruit resembles a large, yellow, knobbly pear, though it is slightly rounder in shape. It is pretty tough and it took some serious muscle and patience to scoop out the flesh without breaking the fruit. An hour and a temper tantrum later, we FINALLY managed to hollow out the fruit completely and stuffed it with the lamb mince mixture.

A photograph of the Seasoning for the Lamb Stuffing
Seasoning for the Lamb Stuffing

The lamb mince was flavoured with garlic, chilli, coriander, allspice, ginger, onion and an egg. We pureed the reserved quince flesh and then sautéed it with onion, ginger and cardamom, adding pomegranate molasses, lemon, sugar and chicken stock.  After this, it took about half an hour for the lamb to cook and the quince to soften.

A photograph of Quince Stuffed with Lamb Pomegranate and Coriander
 Quince Stuffed with Lamb Pomegranate and Coriander

The finished dish was simply lovely, the sweet quince-based gravy playing against the rich lamb mince. The dish was finished with jewel-bright pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander and, as a result, was as visually beautiful as it was tasty. The lamb mixture was wonderfully aromatic with the spices and the pomegranate seeds added texture and nuggets of sharp, sweet flavour. All in all, this was a fantastic dish, and worth the effort of hollowing the quince – though next time, we will know to allow the time for the task.

Technical Details

Unfortunately I didn't get a setup shot for this post.

The main light was a Canon 430 EX II fired at 1/8th at the Ceiling.  This strobe was zoomed to 24mm.

The key light was a Canon 580 EX II fired at 1/64th and zoomed to 70 mm from behind the subject on camera left.

A white foam-core board was placed on the right hand side of the camera to bounce the  key light back on to the right hand side of the camera.

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