Quinces are the star fruit of winter and make it up in taste subtlety and exotic look for the lack of variety available at this time of year. So enjoy them while you can!
Duck legs 4 (or one for each guest)
Water 1 pint
Quinces 2 (peeled and quartered)
Ginger root (1 bitesize)
Clear honey 2 Tbsp
Salt and black pepper
Fresh bunch of coriander
Preheat the oven to 230˚. Rub the duck legs with some of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper then place on a rack. Roast in the oven for about 30 min until the skin is crisp and raised in places.
Pour a pint of water and the juice of one lemon into a pan. Bring to a boil, add the quince quarters and simmer until tender. I left the skin on mine because their skin was thin and lovely but some variety have a thick skin that needs peeling.
Slice the quinces quarters and fry them in olive oil and butter until golden. Reserve.
Take the duck out of the oven and dip some of the fat out into the quinces pan – a couple of spoonfuls. Stir in the grated ginger, honey and cinnamon and fry gently on low heat. Add some more lemon juice. Pour some water to make this into a sauce and let it bubble a few seconds.
Arrange the legs and quinces into a dish and pour the sauce over it. Sprinkle a bit of coriander to serve.
This dish would make a tasty alternative to the traditional Christmas turkey, I reckon. I particularly love the way the quince slices melt in the mouth – one of the nicest ways to serve quinces, at any rate.
Original recipe by Ghillie Basan, a brilliant travel and cookery writer – and friend- who lives in the wilderness of Scotland but whose cooking is infused with middle eastern spices. Her books are a true inspiration for anyone who enjoys Mediterranean flavours and heritage.