“The quince is a mighty and timeless fruit.”William Sitwell, A History of Food In 100 Recipes
This is a highly scaleable recipe – you could make just as well for six or eight people. It’s elegant enough for a smart dinner party, and because it’s in parcel form it’s convenient, and you can prepare ahead of time. It’s a one-pot meal which includes the vegetables, so again, very convenient.
However, beware, it is expensive! The lamb alone will set you back over £40 for six people.
Don’t be tempted to omit the green sugar snaps – they play a crucial role, both for colour as well as crunch.
Everyone has their own way of making gravy – the one set out here is just a suggestion.
Alternative (and quicker) ways of cooking the lamb would be to ditch the roasted potatoes and serve with roasted asparagus and crusty bread.
Or with a green salad and a blue cheese dressing.
Or with a rocket and olive salad dressed with a walnut oil and raspberry vinegar dressing.
Recipe for quince-glazed lamb loin fillets with roasted vegetables
• 1 lamb loin fillet – weighing about 700g/1lb 8 oz
• Olive oil or goose or duck fat for roasting
• 1 packet of prosciutto crudo (Parma ham) – 80-90 g/3 oz , about six slices
• 4 carrots, scraped
• 250g/9 oz new potatoes
• 100g/4oz membrillo (quince paste) – or alternatively Neal’s Yard does a very good damson paste
• 2 tbsps brown sugar
• Generous grinds of black pepper (or even better, gorgeous chocolatey, Urfa pepper flakes)
• A few short sprigs of rosemary
• 120 ml/½ cup rosé vermouth, plus a couple of tbsps. more for melting the membrillo, and some for the gravy
• 200g/7 oz mange tout or sugar snap peas
• Ingredients for making the gravy – chicken stock, tomato paste, mint sauce, a little more membrillo, more vermouth
1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
2. Oil, or put some goose or duck fat into a smallish roasting tin and put in the oven to get hot.
3. Prepare the carrots, scrape them and cut them lengthwise into halves or, if hefty, quarters.
4. Wash the potatoes and cut them into halves, or, if hefty, thirds.
5. Add the carrots and potatoes, the rosemary, sugar and salt (don’t go overboard on the salt as there is the salty prosciutto in this meal), to the hot fat. Stir well to coat. Return to the oven for 45 minutes, taking it out about half-way through the cooking to stir and recoat (add a bit more oil or fat if it looks dry).
6. Take the lamb out of the fridge.
7. Put the membrillo into a small ceramic bowl, add a little rosé vermouth, and warm it gently (180 watt max) for about a minute. Stir roughly with a teaspoon.
8. Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a board to make one big sheet (the edges should be overlapping slightly to reduce leakage).
9. Put the lamb loin fillet down diagonally on your prosciutto ‘sheet’. Spoon the loosened membrillo over it. Sprinkle over your pepper. Wrap the prosciutto over, so that the lamb is in a parcel.
10. When the vegetables are cooked through, lay the lamb parcel over them, pour over the rosé vermouth and return to the oven for 15 minutes. The lamb should be cooked, but still a little pink. If it’s not cooked through return to the oven for another few minutes.
11. Cook the sugar snap peas according to the packet instructions (blanch for three or four minutes in salted boiling water). Drain (you could use a little of the water to make some stock for the gravy).
12. Take the vegetables and lamb out of the roasting tin with a slotted utensil and put on a board to leave it to reast – cover with foil to keep it warm.
13. Make the gravy by putting the roasting tin onto the hob, and adding the ingredients as you see fit that could be: 80 ml/⅓ cup stock made with the sugar snap water and a chicken stock cube; 80 ml/⅓ cup rosé vermouth; 1 tbsp or so of membrillo or redcurrant jelly; 1 tbsp mint sauce; 1 tbsp tomato paste. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. If it gets too sweet add a little lemon juice. Reduce the gravy until it is quite thick and glossy.
14. Carve the lamb diagonally into discs, and serve together with the carrots, potatoes, sugar snaps, and the gravy.