These quinces remind me of harvest moons. I used them in a sumptuous seasonal meal of chicken and quinces. The dish is enjoyed on the evening before Yom Kippur in Morocco and it was what I had planned to serve. Because they are rare, I was surprised to see quinces for sale in August; alas there were no quinces left in early September.
When my daughter was a little girl, we lived in an apartment with a quince tree in back. I had never seen a quince before, so I imagined a deliciously exotic fruit suitable for a wedding feast. Quince
sounds soft and luscious. Imagine my surprise when the fruit developed into lumpy green-yellow “apples” which were hard and puckeringly sour.
A copy of The Best Foods of Russia
by Sonia Uvezian came to me around that time. Ms Uvezian notes that the best foods of Russia come from the Caucassian republics: Armenia, Azerbaidzhan, and Georgia. I found many delicious ways to use quinces: Parch Bozbas (lamb soup with quinces, chestnuts and prunes), quince preserves with cinnamon, cloves, and almonds, sautéed quinces with roast pork, Ashtarak Dolma (quinces stuffed with lamb and rice)…
The quince tree is native to Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan and was introduced to Syria, Croatia, Bosnia, Turkey, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine and Bulgaria. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince
Poulet aux Coings
Chicken with Quinces
The Book of Jewish Food
•An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York•
by Claudia Roden
- 2 very large onions (about 1 ½ pounds), coarsely chopped
- peanut or light vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 6 portions of chicken (thighs are good)
- salt and pepper
- 2 pounds quinces
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ½ cup golden raisins
Heat the onions in 3 Tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and stir in the cinnamon and ginger. Lay the chicken pieces on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook on very low heat for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken over once. The chicken fat and the onion juice should produce a rich sauce, but you may like to add a little water if it seems dry. Remove the chicken pieces and place them in a large baking dish that you can bring to the table.
Wash and scrub the quinces and cut them into quarter. Quinces are hard, so use a strong sharp knife. You do not need to peel and core them, simply cut away the ends. Pick out the seeds. Put the quarters quickly—into boiling water acidulated with the juice of 1 lemon and simmer until just tender, for about 20 – 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain and cool. Cut away the cores and slice each quarter in half.
Fry the quince slices in batches in shallow oil until brown. This gives them a caramelized flavor. Then place them into the sauce in which the chicken was cooked. Add the raisins.
Stir in the honey and the juice of the remaining lemon and cook over very gentle heat, with the lid on for about ½ hour, until very tender. Put the quince and sauce with the chicken in the baking dish and heat through.
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Edward Lear (1812 – 1888) and the first publication date of the owl and the pussycat was 1871.
resume reading Tess’s story…