Monday, February 2, 2009

Pork with Quince -- Hoirino Kydonato

A couple of weeks ago, while at my local fruit and vegetable market, I spotted some quince (kydonia in Greek) and having recently seen recipes featuring quince on a number of yummy blogs I follow, (namely Kopiaste, Food Junkie not junk food, Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska and Kalofagas), I decided to give this versatile fruit a go.

Quince, related to apples and pears, are somewhat pear-shaped and yellow in color. According to sources, the quince likely preceded the apple and is more likely to have been the oft referred to "golden apple" in Greek mythology. In fact, sources say, in Ancient Greece the quince was considered "the fruit of love, marriage and fertility."

It's botanical name, cydonia oblonga--and, of course, its Greek name kydoni--come from the ancient town of Kydonia in Crete, now known as Chania, where the fruit was once famed for growing (please read more on Chania on the ever-so-entertaining and informative blog of Mediterranean Kiwi).

Now onto the dish--I adapted a recipe from Aglaia Kremezi's The Foods of the Greek Islands in which she uses veal to make a stew with quince over the course of two days. I would love to try her original recipe when I have the leisure to allow the meat to marinate (partially cooked) in some of its cooking liquid overnight before then stewing it with the flavorful quince. But for now, this version I made using a juicy center-cut, bone-in pork loin--and just a couple hours of precious cooking time--turned out amazingly well.

Pork with Quince -- Hoirino Kydonato
Adapted from a recipe in Aglaia Kremezi's The Foods of the Greek Islands

3 lb. center-cut, bone-in pork loin
1/4 cup olive oil
2 quince, peeled and sliced
Juice of half a lemon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
12 pitted prunes
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Season the pork loin with plenty of salt and pepper and set aside.

Fill a bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel and slice the quince thick, dropping pieces you've already sliced int he bowl of lemon water as you work.

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat the quince dry and saute in the oil until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Evenly brown the pork in the same dutch oven. Once browned on all sides, remove to a plate. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up all the juicy brown bits, until softened. Stir in the wine and boil for a few seconds. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and allspice and give it all a good stir.

Return the pork back to the dutch oven; add 1/3 of the quince, all the prunes, the chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and give the dutch oven a good shake to combine it all. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 50 minutes, basting the roast occasionally with some of the sauce. (Add some more chicken stock if you feel there is not enough liquid during cooking.)

Uncover the pot and place the remaining quince pieces around the pork loin. Cover and simmer until the newly added quince pieces are soft, about 20 minutes or so. Remove the lesser cooked quince to a plate and keep warm. Remove the pork loin and let rest. Season the sauce in the pot with the balsamic vinegar and additional salt and pepper if necessary and keep warm.

Slice the pork loin and serve, topped with the sauce, alongside a couple of quince pieces and--if you like--some rice.


Ivy said...

Pity kydonia don't last long. I enjoyed them a lot this year. Your recipe sounds delicious.

Peter G said... aromatic! I love the aroma of "kydonia". And a perfect pairing with pork.

Hopie said...

How interesting the history of quince. Thank you for sharing! That recipe sure does look delicious.

gastroanthropologist said...

I absolutely love quince...and with pork...a refreshing substitution to the usual apples.

(Sauteed quince is delicious with foie too!)

Peter M said...

Like Ivy, I wish quince were around longer...pork & quince are naturals.

Love the bone in chop, the rizaki and of course, quince.

Rosie said...

Quince is difficult to come by in England but I have a little tree/bush that did give me a little fruit last year and I potted it up as a jelly-jam.

Your dish sounds fabulous...pork and quince ...perfection!

Rosie x

Mediterranean kiwi said...

so many people have raved so often about the affinity pork has with quince that i must try it some day soon (maybe at the weekend)

on the subject of food and children, yes maria, it makes me proud to know that my kids eat what i cook - the truth is that it is very hard to make children eat what you deem healthy, but at least my son knows why he can't have ham and sausages every day of the week (he's the fussiest eater in my family).

at the same time, i am constantly telling my kids that just because other children at school bring packets of potato chips for morning break doesn't mean it is a good thing, and they really are understanding me - their teachers also support good eating habits, and i really like the way they put me on a par with their teacher (or the other way around), as if they are hearing the same thing from people they love and who are trying to protect them

(this all makes an important issue of food after all, doesn't it)

admittedly, they may not want to eat pork and quince if i made it, but i have always told them to find something from the one meal i cook that they will eat. i know my son will at least fish out some of the meat and leave aside the quince, but that's acceptable for me too.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I have never had quince...but it is certainly something I would like to try by someone who knows what to do with it - obviously you do! This dish looks great!

Laurie Constantino said...

I'm so glad to see you jumped on the quince bandwagon! It sure do taste good!!