My friend has a quince tree that was brimming with ripe quince and he brought me a bag of this beautiful fruit from his backyard. Quince is a fall fruit and resembles an apple or Asian pear, but it is quite bitter and a little chalky in texture. It makes a wonderful jam and the flavor is really brought out with slow cooking and a little sugar with almost a sweet perfume quality. I decided to make Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks with Quince because stewing brings out the best flavors in both the lamb and the quince. The dish was also enhanced by a beautiful gift of saffron he brought me back from his trip to the Middle East – a perfect gift for someone like me who loves to cook! Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world because the stigmas are picked by hand from the crocus flower. It takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 to make a single pound! It has a slightly honey-sweet hay taste and imparts a beautiful yellow-orange hue to the dish so this lamb was extra special. You brown the lamb shanks with an onion, and add garlic, coriander, ginger, cinnamon a touch of tomato paste, lemon peel, beef stock, saffron, honey and quince and braise it in the oven for several hours. To finish the dish, you add some fresh lemon juice and I garnished it with fresh cilantro which brings some fresh vibrancy to the stewed dish. I served Couscous with Apricots, Mint, Cilantro, Parsley and Fried Shallots alongside and it made a delicious side dish. A wonderful fall stew with a fruit you don’t often think about pairing with a hearty lamb dish. Click here for the recipe….