Adriana's Symi Recipes

Greek recipes from the island of Symi.

Pork and Quinces – the Dinner Party Version

The combination of pork with quinces is a very popular one in Greece at this time of the year. Usually it is made as a casserole using one of the fattier cuts of pork, the sharpness of the fruit cutting the richness of the meat. I also make it in this fashion when it is cold enough to light the wood stove and have pots simmering away for hours.

This October, however, the weather has been so mild that when the quinces appeared in the shops I decided to try a quicker, lighter approach when we had guests for dinner. My usual butcher down in Yialos had some beautiful pork fillets and there were some perfect golden quinces at the greengrocer in the lane round the corner. Here is what I did with them.

The pork:

2 pork fillets (approximately 750 grams total weight)
15 ml coriander seeds
15 ml mixed pepper corns
zest of one lemon
1 small dried red chilli
5 ml dried thyme

Grind together all the seasonings and rub into all surfaces of the meat. Cover and leave to stand in a cool place for at least an hour.

The quinces:

2 large quinces, well washed and cut into quarters (about a kilo)
2 cups water
1 cup sugar

125 ml white wine
125 ml orange juice
15 ml honey
2 cm cinnamon stick
15 ml pomegranate molasses (optional)

Combine the water and sugar in a heavy pan over gentle heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chunks of quince and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, drain the quinces. Peel them and core the chunks and cut into neat pieces.

Combine the white wine, orange juice, honey, cinnamon and pomegranate molasses in a saucepan large enough to hold all the quince. Add the quinces and simmer over low heat until slightly syrupy.

Heat sufficient olive oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan large enough to hold both pork fillets and sear the meat on all sides. Reduce heat, cover the frying pan and cook for 10 minutes, turning once. Cut the meat into slices an inch thick and sear on the cut surfaces. This should now be practically cooked through but not dry. Season to taste with salt.

Arrange the slices of meat on a platter and spoon over some of the quinces and syrup. Serve the rest separately.

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