I had the recent good fortune to harvest a neighbors Medlars, an ancient fruit of the Persians and fabled to be the mother of the apple and pear, and original garden of Eden temptress. It is said that Adam did not like the taste and it stuck in his throat forming his Adams apple.
Medlars are eaten after they have fallen from the tree and have softened by the first frosts. They are basically rotten at this point, but don’t let that put you off, their brown flesh tastes just like delicious apple sauce.
My first dish I made with the medlars was a spiced medlar tarte, basically adding christmas spices, yoghurt (had no cream, but cream would be better), eggs. I added no extra sugar as the medlars are naturally quite sweet. I painstakingly spent about an hour preparing the medlars, peeling off the skin and separating the seeds from the pulp. you can see from the picture below that roughly 2/3 is wasted skin and seeds.
I’m a lazy quick cook, so I won’t be doing it again that way.
I still had a big bag left a weeks later and could not bear the thought I spending so much time preparing them, so I decided to cook them all up whole and see what happened. I figured I could strain out the seeds and skin.
I added cinnamon, star anise and juniper berries and covered with water. I would have used cloves as well but couldn’t find any. Probably used them all up on the ham at Christmas. After an hour they were still just as I left them, whole. So I got out the potato masher and systematically exploded them as if it was a stew of giants eyeballs.
After this things progressed more quickly and after another hour was greeted by a thickening sauce that was tasting pretty good.
It was a very “meaty” sauce, would make a great base for a curry or chutney. I’ve now got it in the freezer awaiting various culinary adventures, but before that I used it to make a kick ass sauce for some tender lamb chops. Thought someone might be interested as medlar recipes I’ve found on the net were quite tame…medlar pie, medlar cheese, Oh, another medlar pie.
So here is my latest offering:
Lamb Chops with Spiced Medlars and Red Wine Sauce
1 tbsp fresh coriander seed, roughly crushed in mortar and pestle (or in my case the handle of a big knife…how I lost the pestle is anyone’s guess.)
splash of olive oil
3-4 lamb chops suitable for quick cooking
1 sprig of tarragon
3 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
3/4 cup of spiced medlar mush
good splosh of red wine
Fry off the coriander in the oil and then add the seasoned chops. Sprinkle over the herbs. when you turn the chops over, cover them with medlar mush, but don’t let too much hit the pan till the lamb is cooked enough. Once the chops are cooked to your liking, add the red wine and mix through. Remove the chops and reduce the sauce as needed.
The taste of this dish was as if two meats are served. Sweet pink lamb with a rich sauce reminiscent of very slow cooked beef that has all broken down into tender strings. The skin of the Medlar proved to be very edible after 2 hours of cooking, softening nicely. The seeds are dangerous and can break a tooth, but they can easily be removed. I didn’t though. Just left them on the plate.
I didn’t add any greens or potatoes or anything else. It was a quick, nutritious, yummy meal.