|Persian beef stew with quince and prunes|
I polled the crowd on the In Erika's Kitchen Facebook page about quince. Shirin, another home cook in Los Angeles, waxed wistful about her mother's Persian beef stew with quince. I had to have the recipe. Shirin got it from her mom, Haydeh, and with their permission I share it with you.
I can't find the words to describe just how delicious and unusual this beef stew is. Beef, quince, prunes and turmeric combine to make a rich, aromatic broth. It smells and tastes like a fireplace in winter: warm, thick, a little smoky.
I made this beef stew in the slow cooker, although it could easily cook on the stove. If you have trouble finding quince, ask the produce manager at a local gourmet grocery - he or she should be able to find you some until the end of the year.
|See the green spot on the spoon? That's me, taking the photo|
Persian beef stew with quince (Khoreshe behh)
adapted from a recipe by Haydeh Bina Motavasel
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 pounds stew beef cut into smallish cubes (lamb or veal work also)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 quinces, cored and cubed, not peeled
- handful of prunes
- 3 Tbsp honey
Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches until it is seared well on all sides, then remove the meat to a plate. Add the onions and cook 6-8 minutes, until the onions are starting to brown nicely. Add the meat and any juices that have accumulated on the plate back to the pot. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and enough water to come halfway up the meat mixture. Stir to combine and bring the pot to a simmer.
While the meat is coming to a simmer, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet and saute the quince for a few minutes. You don't want to cook it thoroughly, just to start caramelizing the edges. Add the quince to the stew pot along with the prunes and honey. By this time the stew should be simmering; stir everything to combine, cover the pot, and let it cook a good three hours over very low heat. Check it occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot, and if it looks dry, add some water. Shirin notes that the longer it cooks, the better it will be.
Serve with white Basmati rice.
Slow cooker method: After you brown the meat and onions, add them to the slow cooker along with the turmeric, cinnamon, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a cup or two of water. Saute the quince and add those to the slow cooker along with the prunes. Drizzle the honey over all. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
|I find quince extraordinarily beautiful|