Magazine article Sunset

It Looks like a Lumpy Apple

Magazine article Sunset

It Looks like a Lumpy Apple

Article excerpt

RESEMBLING A LUMPY, sometimes fuzzy golden apple, quince doesn't convey its merits overtly. Raw quince is tough, dry-tasting, and generally unappealing. But cooking transforms this fruit. It becomes tender, aromatic, and slightly bittersweet--provocative with meats and grand in desserts. Usually, the pale yellow quince flesh shifts to a slightly golden color as it cooks, but occasionally it develops a rosy hue.

Here we pair quince with lamb stew in a hearty entree; for dessert, quince bakes in a pie with a streusel topping.

Lamb Stew with Caramelized Quince

2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/4 cup sugar 5 large (about 3-in.-diameter, 2 1/2 lb. total) quinces, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch wedges 2 1/2 pounds boned lamb shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks 2 large (about 1 1/4 lb. total) onions, chopped 3 cups regular-strength beef broth 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (coriander) 3 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water 3 to 4 cups hot cooked couscous or rice Cilantro sprigs

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, melt butter and sugar over medium-high heat; add quinces. Turn fruit often until richly browned, about 15 minutes; remove slices as browned. Put quinces in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil. If making ahead, chill up to a day.

To the 5- to 6-quart pan, add lamb and onions. Cover and cook over high heat until mixture is juicy, about 5 minutes. Uncover; stir often until liquid evaporates and browned bits form in pan. Add 1/4 cup broth and scrape browned bits free. Boil until liquid evaporates and browned bits form again. Add another 1/4 cup broth; repeat step.

When liquid evaporates, stir in remaining broth, minced cilantro, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over high heat. …

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