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Spiced lamb kofta with quinces

This recipe is a modern take on a classic Persian dish and the result is a divine mix of contrasting textures with aromatic and enticing savoury, fruit sweet and sharp flavours. You can substitute the quinces with hard pears (omit the sugar). Serve with plain rice or with saffron rice with Cranberries, Pistachio and Mixed herbs. Plan ½ a day ahead to allow quinces to cook. Serves 4

** This ingredient can also be found at the Willunga Farmers Market

For the quinces
2 Quinces – Ashbourne Valley Orchards
1 cinnamon stick
1 small piece from a whole nutmeg
1tlb honey – Do Bee Honey

Peel quinces, then cut into quarters and remove cores. Set peel and core aside. Choose a heavy based pot with a tight fitting lid that fits the fruit snuggly. Place fruit in a single layer then add the spices and honey. Cover with baking paper. Place skin and cores on top of baking paper and pour in enough water to just cover the contents. Co  ver the pot and place on the stove. Bring to boil then turn heat down to very low. Cook for 3-4 hours or until liquid is reduced to about one cup and quinces are pink. Discard the paper, cores and peels. Remove quinces from their liquid and set aside.

For the kofta
500g minced lamb – Yankaponga Lamb
1 garlic clove, finely chopped – Bull Creek
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped **
½ cup coriander, leaves, roots and stems chopped plus extra **
2tlb breadcrumbs
2tlb freshly grated ginger
2 medium red onions, finely chopped **
1tsp allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten **
8 cardamon pods
2tsp pomegranate molasses
1tlb lemon juice **
1 cup quince liquid (as per above method)
1 cup water
1tlb brown sugar
3tlb olive oil
1tsp salt, plus extra
pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place lamb in a mixing bowl along with the garlic, chilli, coriander, breadcrumbs, allspice, ½ of the ginger, ½ of the onion, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan for which you have a lid.  Pour a small amount of olive oil into the pan so you have a thin layer. Shape the mince into meatballs and cook in batches until lightly browned. Place on paper towel and set aside.

Add the remaining onions to the pan. Cook for about a few minutes or until softened. Next, add remaining ginger, and cardamom pods and cook for five minutes or until the onion is very soft and spices are aromatic. Add pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, sugar, quince liquid, water and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Gently slip the meatballs into the sauce. Cover with the lid and simmer for about 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick. Serve warm, accompanied by the quince segments, sprinkled with coriander and pomegranate seeds.

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