All through the winter, I keep a basket of fragrant quinces on the table. As they ripen, it is like watching the winter change slowly on my kitchen table. Quince is so versatile and adds flavor and texture to both savory and sweet dishes. I cut quinces to roast with root vegetables, braise them with greens or grains, or prepare this dish, stuffing them with a sweet and spicy filling of walnuts, grains, and raisins. The filling for this recipe is inspired by the classic, sumptuous Turkish meat-stuffed quince. With nuts, chewy wheat berries, raisins, and a very aromatic Lebanese spice blend, I think I have created an equally enticing meatless dish.
Rub the fuzz off each quince, wash, and dry. Halve each fruit through the equator, using a good chef’s knife. Don’t peel. Arrange them on the baking sheet, cut side down, and
(You can bake the quince up to 4 days in advance and keep, covered, in the refrigerator until needed. Bake more and freeze them to use later in savory or sweet dishes.)
Using a grapefruit knife or spoon, very carefully remove as much flesh as possible from each quince half without piercing the skin. If, while removing the core and pips, you prick the bottom, don’t worry; simply patch it with a piece of the removed flesh. Discard the pips and core (see Note), place the quince flesh in a blender, and pulse to chop—you will have about
Make the stuffing: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onions, and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the almonds, orange juice, wheat berries, and 1½ cups (
Arrange the quince, hollow side up, in an ovenproof clay or glass pan that holds them snugly. Fill each fruit with the stuffing, using all of it.
Make the sauce: In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the tomato paste, and stir for a few seconds. Add the reserved quince pulp, the cinnamon, bay leaves, and Maraş pepper to taste. Pour in the wine and
Spoon the sauce over each stuffed quince, tucking the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves between the quinces (see photo). Cover loosely with aluminum foil and
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