I always associated Quinces with English food, for some reason, but in my quest for Quince recipes (thanks to buckets of them from a friend), I find the best ones in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines.
This one is a Greek recipe, from Macedonia and Thrace. It simmers leeks with tomatoes and quinces for an excellent wintery side dish. It can be cooked in the oven too, should you wish to warm the kitchen as the dish bakes. It is a variation on another local dish which cooks leeks with prunes and tomatoes.
Leeks with Quinces | Praso Lathro me Kydonia
ingredients for 4 – 6 servings
1 kg leeks
3 quinces, peeled and cored, and cut into wedges
0.5 cups olive oil
1 large, ripe tomato, grated
0.5 tspn allspice berries
freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tblspn unsalted butter
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
As soon as you peel and cut the quinces, place them in a bowl of cold water with the juice from the lemon.
Cut the leeks in half or thirds, depending on size, each piece about 5 cm long.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan – a Dutch oven is ideal. Add the leeks and cook over medium-low heat until they begin to caramelise, turning several times. This will take 20 – 25 mins.
Add the tomatoes and the quince wedges, and season with salt and pepper. Add a little freshly grated nutmeg and the allspice berries. Cover and simmer over a very low heat until the quinces are soft, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add a little water or wine to the pot if necessary to keep the leeks and quinces from burning.
A few minutes before removing from the heat, add the butter and combine gently.
Serve and enjoy!