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Khoresht Beh (Quince Stew)

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time:  1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 45 min
Yields: 4 to 6 servings


6 tablespoons regular olive oil (divided)
1 medium onion chopped
1 pound stew meat
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron (optional)
2 large quinces


Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a medium pot. Add chopped onions. Cook over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes or until slightly golden, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. Add meat, salt, turmeric, cinnamon powder and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, stir occasionally. Stir in water, bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low, cover and cook for 1 hour or until meat is almost fork tender.

Half way through cooking, peel the quinces, cut into quarters and remove their cores. Chop the quarters into 1-inch cubes. Quince turns brown quickly if not used right after cutting. To prevent oxidation, keep them in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice, ¼ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of cold water.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add chopped quinces and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly golden.

Add lemon juice, saffron and chopped quinces to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until quinces cook through.

Some varieties of quince are very sour unlike the ones used in this recipe. Taste the sauce before adding lemon juice. If the sauce is too sour, omit the lemon juice and if needed add a little sugar to balance the flavors.

Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve over basmati rice.