Winter has certainly arrived in Sydney and although it doesn’t get quite as cold as in certain parts of the world, it’s that time of the year when I’m definitely craving the warmth embrace of a hearty stew. And the following Tunisian Lamb & Quince stew really does the job and keeps you toasty with all of the beautiful North African spices and flavours.
Australia provides some of the best lamb in the world and a slow cooked lamb shoulder is just an absolute joy to eat. Quinces however are a much less used fruit, since you have to cook it to be edible, it’s an intimidating what the hell is that type thing in the market but in reality it’s just a giant fragrant sour astringent apple.
The following recipe is adapted from here, it makes quite a bit of stew but luckily it also freezes well so you’ll have enough stew to keep you going for many a winter day.
Tunisian Lamb & Quince Stew
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
6 medium cloves(peeled and smashed)
2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 kg lamb shoulder (cut into cubes 3-4 cm)
Salt & Pepper
2 brown onions (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of saffron threads
1.5 litres chicken broth
2 large quinces (de-cored and cut into large chunks)
2 tablespoons honey
Toast the coriander and caraway seeds in a pan till fragrant. Then transfer to a mortar and pestle, crush and pound. Combine with the garlic, chilli flakes, paprika, cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl and marinate the cubed lamb in the mixture overnight in the fridge. Take the lamb out 45min before cooking to bring to room temperature.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Sear the lamb in batches until golden brown.
Remove the lamb and add in the onions, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, garlic from the marinade and saffron. Cook until the onions begin to caramelise and scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the lamb back into the pot. Add the chicken stock and simmer covered for 1.5 hours.
Once the lamb is almost tender add in the quince and honey, season to taste with salt & pepper and then simmer for another hour covered or until quince is tender.