After the quince preserve recipe I posted last week, I was further inspired to make one more quince dish before the season was over. This dish is so easy to put together, if you have the cooked meat and caramelized onion in the freezer. This is a flavorful sweet-&-sour, a very tasty recipe to be enjoyed with butter flavored Persian rice with plain tah-dig. Also check out the ‘savory’ version of khoresh’e beh/quince stew!
Stew Meat: When good cuts of meat are on sale (I prefer chuck-roast-cross rib cut), I buy 9Kg/ 20 lbs and trim/cut/sear/simmer them. Since the meat cooks to about half its weight/size, it yields 10 plastic storage boxes/bags of about 545 g/ 1.2 lbs each (liquids included) to freeze.
Needed for this recipe:
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 900 g/ 2 lbs stew beef cut in 5cm/2″ cubes
• 1 bay-leaf
• 2 cups water
◊ In a medium sauce pan, add oil and on high heat, as soon as oil is hot, add cut onions and stirring constantly, sauté for 2 minutes. Add meat and sear all around. Add water, bay-leaf and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 1.5~2 hours, until meat is done, but not over-cooked. There should be ½ cup of liquid left . Set aside for next step of cooking or pack to freeze for further usage.
Caramelized onion: In my opinion, crispy caramelized onions are “the” secret taste of more dishes than we can imagine. It is best to make them when sweet onions are in season. Store several bottles of them in the freezer (if not “crispy” caramelized, because they stick together, best to store then in 1~2 Tbsp individual packets).
Recipe → Crispy Caramelized Onion.
Khoresh'e Beh • خورش به ترش و شیرین • Quince Stew (Sweet & Sour)
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 545 g/ 1.2 lbs cooked stew meat/beef with liquid (lamb, veal or poultry may be used)
• 2 ~ 3 well-rounded Tbsp crispy caramelized onion (equivalent 1 large onion, caramelized in 3 ~ 5 Tbsp oil)
• 680 g/ 1.5 lb/ 2 large quince
• 100 g/ ½ cup granulated sugar (no more)
• 120 ml/ ½ cup water
• 3 Tbsp lime juice (lime is better, but may use lemon)
• 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/16 ~ 1/8 tsp ground saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
• ¼ tsp salt
DIRECTIONS◊ Wash the quince very well. Quince has a tough core. It is difficult to cut right into the center, especially if it is not as juicy as desired. The easiest way to deal with this is to hold the quince on a cutting board, leaving the core intact and cut in tic-tac-toe [*] style. Leave the peels on. Cut into 2cm / 7/8” thick wedges.
◊ Into a medium-sized saucepan that has a lid, add quince slices, sugar, water, and bring to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat to “between medium-low and low”. Cover the saucepan with 2 layers of paper-towel, tightly close the lid and let it simmer for 35 ~ 45 minutes, depending on the quince. So the quince pieces will not fall apart, at the 35-minute mark, toothpick test, and if it goes through a tad hard, it is ready. Otherwise, put the covered lid back and cook a little more.
◊ Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 200°C/400°F.
◊ Into an oven-safe deep dish, add and spread the almost-cooked quince with its liquid. Add cooked meat with its broth. Add lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt, saffron water. Add more water if needed to level with the meat and quince. Sprinkle one-half of crispy caramelized onion all over. Cover tightly with foil or with the dish’s lid and bake for 45 minutes.
◊ When ready to serve, sprinkle on the other one-half of crispy caramelized onion. Served with Persian rice / polo.
~ Noushe jan • نوش جان ~
A few important points in making an outstanding Persian khoresh:
♦ Don’t skimp on oil… use as much as needed for frying/sautéing. Boiling oil also cooks and adds flavor. It can be skimmed off before serving.
♦ Brown/sear onion and meat very well.
♦ Adding 1/16 ~ 1/8 tsp of ground saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water, will substantially add to taste.
♦ Don’t use too much water for cooking, just enough to steam and condense. –Simmer on low heat for a long time. This helps flavor fusion of ingredients.
♦ Best if stew is made a day in advance and refrigerated for taste to meld.
♦ Almost all stews can be frozen. Exception: If stew includes potato(es), potato pieces to be removed before freezing.
♦ There are red  stews (using tomato paste) and green  stews (using herbs). Garnishing red stews sparingly with caramelized onion before serving not only further enhances taste but visually enhances the dish.
 Slang: ‘red’ and ‘green’ are used to specify types of stews or mixed rices, using tomato paste vs. herbs respectively. This concept also helps host/hostess plan an event menu and serve a balance of reds and greens.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?