This casserole or yahni is quite simply the most fabulous combination of flavours you can possibly imagine: tender kuzu cooked gently with aromatic spices and quince or ayva, is quite simply exquisite.
It’s February and quinces are still with us here in Turkey but if you can’t get them, dried apricots or prunes, or even Granny Smith apples can be used.
Before adding to the casserole which I heartily recommend you do. I will give one alternative here:
by Angie Mitchell
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Peel the quinces, remove the cores, and cut into 8 segments.
- Immediately put them in cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
- In a large pan, heat the butter or oil. Brown the lamb, remove and put to one side.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
- Stir in the spices and return the meat to the pan. Stir well to ensure the meat is well coated.
- Add the tomato paste and the water, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30 mins.
- Stir in the parsley and then transfer to an ovenproof dish.
- Drain the quince, lay the segments on top and drizzle with honey.
- Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 mins and cook until the quince segments are nicely caramelised. (In my experience, this didn’t work so see below).
- Serve hot from the oven with rice or bulgur.
Now, here is an alternative way of cooking the quinces adapted to this amount of lamb, from yummly.com:
- Melt 4 tbsp butter in a frying pan.Add quinces (washed, peeled, cut into 8) and cook over high heat until caramelized. Turn pieces from time to time.
- Add sugar (4 tbsp brown sugar), a good pinch of ground cloves (optional), and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir once and place on top of the lamb in the pan. Cover.
- Simmer gently for 30 mins till the lamb is tender. Don’t stir, this will damage the quinces.
I think this sounds good. What do you think? Note: the dish is NOT put in the oven in this recipe.
I noticed in my trawls on the internet, that pomegranate juice or molasses was frequently mentioned.So if you are feeling adventurous, you could try this (I haven’t yet): instead of the tomato paste + 1 cup water, substitute the same amount of pomegranate juice/nar suyu, OR pomegranate molasses/nar ekşisi ie dilute 4 tsp with water to make the same amount as specified in the recipe. Could be yummy. Let me know.
I also noticed that garlic wasn’t used if pomegranate was.