Recipe: Savory Baked Quince stuffed with Lamb
I suspect there are few fruits in the history of mankind with such tantalizing lore as the quince. In an interview with “The Splendid Table,” noted fruit writer David Karp said that in Tudor and Stuart times, quince marmalade, wrapped in gold foil, was regarded as an aphrodisiac. At medieval courts and banquets, nobles enjoyed quince jelly for dessert. I love the tart flavor of quince when baked. It tastes like a hybrid of a baked apple and a pear — a marvelous counterpoint to the earthy flavor of lamb.
Yield: 4 quince halves
Cost: Approx. $8.50
Active Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 90 minutes
- 2 large quinces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 8 ounces ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon currants, optional
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint plus extra sprigs for garnish, optional
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo Turkish or black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Wash the quinces. Rub off the light down that covers the skin in patches, if apparent.
Place them on an oiled, foil-lined baking sheet on center rack of oven. Bake 40-60 minutes. Cooking times vary depending on age and size of the quince. They are ready when just soft to the touch.
3. While quinces are baking, sauté onion in oil until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and allspice, salt and pepper. Combine with raw lamb and 3 tablespoons pine nuts.
4. When quinces are cool enough to handle, cut them open lengthwise through the stem end. Remove the cores and membranes attached to the stem with a sharp knife and discard. Remove and discard all seeds. With a pointed spoon or melon baller, scoop out about one-third of the pulp and mix it into the meat mixture with the currants, if using. Mound and press 1/4 of this mixture into each quince half.
5. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Return stuffed quince to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with remaining tablespoon of pine nuts and mint, if using.
This recipe was written by Peggy Lampman and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on Dec. 2, 2010.