Lamb with Quince, Pomegranate and Coriander

The 6th January is the Feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings to Bethlehem. In Spain el Día De Los Reyes is a feast Day, and widely anticipated and celebrated by young and old. Traditionally a Roscón de Reyes (a Cake of Kings) is made. Check out my recipe from last year here, or Giovanna´s beautiful creation here.

Although we´re currently in England, we weren´t going to let a celebration pass us by, and the opportunity to celebrate it with best friends and parents was too good to miss.

Lamb with Quince (1)

We may have had to eat off a folding table in a half decorated room with mismatched plates from charity shops, but we were going to eat well.

We started with Jamon y Queso (Ham & Cheese) and Habas con Jamon (Broad Beans with Ham) and a delicious Brandada. Check out Mad Dog´s fantastic post all about this Catalan delicacy.

Our main course was inspired by my Christmas present from Big Man, the beautiful book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. We had bought a couple of quince back from Spain with us, although I didn´t have quite enough so added in chunks of butternut squash (Ottolenghi recommends pear) which worked really well.  Below is how I cooked the recipe with the original recipe also shown.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course)

  • 400g minced lamb
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 red chili, chopped (I used 1 tsp hot pimentón)
  • 20g chopped coriander plus 2tbsp to garnish
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 medium onions peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium free range egg
  • 4 quince (1.3kg in total) I used 2 quince and a small butternut squash
  • ½ lemon squeezed plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses (I couldn´t find this so used honey plus the juice of an extra half a lemon)
  • 2 tsp sugar (I left this out)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Seeds of ½ pomegranate
  • Salt and black pepper

Place the lamb in a bowl with the garlic, chili, coriander, breadcrumbs, allspice, half the ginger, half the onion, egg and seasoning. Mix with your hands and then form small meatballs. The original recipe suggests stuffing halves of quince, Believe me, this is very hard work as quince are very hard to peel and chop, so I went with his other suggestion to chop the quince and cook with the lamb meatballs.

Lamb with Quince (2)

Peel and chop the quince/squash into large chunks and finely chop about a quarter of the chunks. Leave the larger pieces in a pot of water with the juice of half a lemon to stop the quince turning too brown. Or don´t bother – it will still look and taste good when cooked!

Heat the oil and add the finely chopped quince/squash, onions, ginger and cardamom pods. Cook (covered) until softened then add the molasses and lemon juice (or honey and lemon juice), sugar (if using), stock and seasoning. Now add the quince/squash and meatballs and cook gently for about an hour (covered) or until the fruit is soft. Remove the lid and turn up the heat and cook for a further few minutes until the sauce is thick and pulpy, check for seasoning and sprinkle with the pomegranate and fresh coriander before serving. I also added an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Tastes even better if made the day before (just don´t add the coriander and pomegranate). I served it with basmati rice into which I stirred browned onions and cumin seeds (toasted and crushed with a pestle and mortar).

Fruit Platter (1)

Phew – a lovely meal with friends which was rounded off with singing and dancing (of the silly variety), Roscón and a fruit platter which went some way to convincing us that we hadn´t consumed any calories at all over Christmas and New Year.


81 thoughts on “Lamb with Quince, Pomegranate and Coriander

  1. Excellent recipe and thanks for the link 😉
    I got a Día De Los Reyes present – I went to the first farmers market since Christmas and the farmer gave me a brace of pheasants!

  2. Mmmhh, but you know what, I won’t eat lamb either! It’s like Bambi’s mummy. But I will very happily eat Wilbur’s brother or sister. This sounds sooo tasty with Wilbur’s bro.

  3. Fantastic, Tanya. I have a quince tree that produces more than we can eat stewed or as jam. I remember the first time I introduced fruit into a meat dish to my very traditional farmer husband. He’s adapted a bit since then. I loooooove the smell and taste of quince and it will go perfectly with lamb. We don’t have such easy access to pomegranate though. Any ideas for a substitute?

    1. Hee hee – fruit and meat. Big Man was always a bit dubious too and as for roast pork with apple sauce – don´t even go there! The quince doesn´t taste fruity in this. It´s one of those “I like this, but can´t quite work out what it is” flavours! If you can´t get pomegranate, I´d just leave it out, the flavours are still amazing 🙂

  4. ¡Qué rico Tanya! Me he descargado una muestra de este libro en el kindle para ver un poco las recetas. El cordero tiene una pinta buenísima desde luego.
    Me alegro de que lo hayáis pasado tan bien en Reyes y muchas gracias por el link 😉
    Un abrazo

  5. Your meal sounds like it was wonderful. When we lived in Miami, Three Kings Day was an important holiday. I’ve heard the cookbook is terrific…Big Man did great giving you such a nice gift.

  6. What a fabulous recipe I so soon intend to try! I absolutely loved your ‘make-do’ attitude as far as ‘needed’ ingredients’ were concerned – perchance some taste tinglings came out better your way 🙂 ! In Northern Europe ‘Three Kings’ was a most important holiday with a whole lot of rules and regulations 🙂 !

  7. Now that was some celebratory dinner you prepared, Tanya! That lamb dish is a feast for the eyes if ever there was one. And you followed it up with that fruit platter. You really have taken your adopted home’s traditions to heart — and that’s a good thing. There’s a lot of wisdom behind “When in Rome … “

  8. This looks so so so good! Makes me even more sad that lamb is so hard to find here. I am all over the pomegranate right now- saw a toasted coconut tilapia yesterday with pomegranate salsa that I just died over, and now this!!! Love it.

  9. I agree you should never let a chance to celebrate slide. We still celebrate Thanksgiving even though we live in England.

  10. Another blogger that I follow recommending Yotam Ottolenghi…I guess I am just going to have to check him out now that you have recommended him because I take that as a taste tick :). Mum died on January 6th and I will forever remember the “epiphany”…it was indeed a moment of clear and concise epiphany for me and I am going to start a tradition of baking a Kings cake in her honour. Mum was the doyen of cakes so it would seem only fitting. I will be making your recipe on January 6th 2014 and might even make my daughters one as well. Traditions start from the strangest things don’t they? 🙂 Love your feasting…feasting is what it is all about (oh…and fasting after said feasting so you can still fit into your trousers but lets not talk about that yet…”fasting” is to “feasting” as the doppleganger in the cupboard was to Dorian Gray! 😉 ). This year Steve and I are spending a day a fortnight exploring cuisines that we haven’t explored and I might just explore Spain for our first outing of the year. We plan on preparing a 3 course authentic meal from each country that we choose and drinking something endemic to that country as well. Shouldn’t be a problem with spain but when we get around to Tibet, might be a bit tough (snow wine anyone? 😉 ). Wish us luck!

    1. I think your idea of honouring your mum´s life is wonderful! Good luck with the cake – plenty of kneading required (but then bread making should be made with passion) and flour for the sticky hands…you´ll be well rewarded. Loved the idea of exploring different cuisines. Many Spanish recipes are meat heavy which won´t work for you, but there are also options which will be good or can be adapted. Do you eat dairy at all or is that totally out? Pipirrana is a lovely fresh vegan tapas, pretty much anything can be “pil-pil´d” and you could make a lovely paella. Sorted! Good luck with Tibet 😉

      1. This is the 5th time I have tried to reply to this! I am SO angry with WordPress I could spit…I just wanted to say that Tibet is officially in the “too hard basket” for now and will be relegated to the bottom of the barel where it will have to fight with Uzbekistan and Lithuania for honours and where “Paper, Rock, Scissors” is the order of the day. As a quintessential “veganiser” of consumately meaty recipes I figure I can cope with having a go at translating Spains meaty history into something acceptably unctuous and vegan. Cheese isn’t a problem now as those clever foody vegans have come up with a plethora of delicious vegan alternatives that can be made at home and as Spains roots are firmly in the ground, along with the carrots, based on peasant heritage I dare say I can find enough wonderful vegetable dishes to tide me over ;). Fruity olive oil (tick), olives (tick), lots and LOTS of delicious eggplants, capsicum, tomatoes and garlic in the veggie garden (TICK)…I think I am set for a degustatory event Viva Espanole! Wish me luck (and lots of sangria 😉 )

      2. Ooh I am looking forward to reading about this culinary world tour. Don´t think you need luck (apart from with wordpress 😦 ) Hve been asking Big Man for more veggie/vegan ideas so will let you know if I think of any more 🙂

  11. That’s one of the prettiest dishes I’ve ever seen, and so festive as well. It definitely looks like a one pot meal…my favorite kind! I’ll bet friends and family alike were cheering when this came to the table. 🙂

    1. I hadn´t thought of it as a one pot, but you´re right, it is! There were appreciate sighs all round (although it did go a bit quiet for a while too while they were eating)!

  12. I just had the BEST fun using Google Translate for that recipe in Spanish and actually replying to it…I bet they get a laugh when they read the translation, I know I usually do when I use it 😉

  13. I’m quite new in the blogosphere,but I noticed your posts as soon as I went browsing around….Your good taste , your photos,your recipes…I loved your blog from the very beginning!
    Thank you for visiting mine,and…….¡hasta pronto!

  14. Tanya, two flat out eye popping dishes! Love the ingredient list in the first…my mouths having no trouble imagining how very delicious that would be! And the salad, what a way to refresh afterwards! You DO know how to celebrate the good life girl! Well done, and a party well-deserved by two who’ve worked so hard!

    1. Not a one! Well, it´s not really too naughty a dish as the meatballs aren´t fried and with all that fruit and veg in there, it cancels out any remaining calories 😉

      1. This is a well know calorific equation! Also works for cake pinched from someone else’s plate.
        Or it might explain the surplus 20 odd pounds I’m carrying….

      1. Yes, I’m back! My domain got stolen back in November, so it’s screwed the notifications and everything. 😦 Brand new domain now though! Just have to fix a few more things I think.

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