Mutton With Quince, Chestnuts and Saffron


Retains its air of mystique. Even one lone fruit will scent the air if you keep it long enough. The fruit of Aphrodite can’t be eaten raw, but comes into its own as a preserve; most famously as quince cheese, but also to flavour vodka, or in savoury dishes, tarts and pies. You’ll find them at most of our farmers’ markets.


Once a lamb is one-year-old, it’s hogget. Over two-yearsold and it becomes mutton. The older it is, the longer it is likely to take to cook, but the flavour pays off. Find it at farmers’ markets, farm shops and good butchers.

  1. Cut and core 2 quinces.
  2. Cut each quarter into four and drop them into a bowl with 300ml boiling water and lemon juice squeezed in. You need to keep the quince slices from browning.
  3. Peel 15 pearl onions and garlic.
  4. Roughly crush the garlic.
  5. In a pot melt 40g butter.
  6. Brown 1 kilo mutton, add the onions and garlic.
  7. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp red pepper paste and water.
  8. Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
  9. Add the quince slices, 4 peeled and cubed potatoes, 15 cooked chestnuts, 1 tbsp sugar or pomegranate molasses, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  10. Add a generous pinch of saffron to a couple of tablespoons of warm water to let the colour develop for a minute. Add to the pot.
  11. Add enough water to cover the meat and vegetables.
  12. Cook on a very slow heat until tender.
  13. Serve with rice or bread.

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