Aleppo quince chicken

This recipe from a 13th-century Syrian cookery book is one of several quince stews. It is a tad labour intensive but, as ever, your toil will be amply rewarded by the result. The chicken is boiled and then fried in sesame oil with some onion. The quinces should be split, cored and deseeded, and then added or, as in the variation recreated here, fried first. Then both are cooked in broth, with a little fresh lemon juice, sugar, saffron, mint, the atraf al-tib spice mix, as well as some pistachios (we are in Aleppo, after all!). Let all those flavours infuse and then it’s time to tuck in. Crusty bread proved to be a good choice to accompany the dish.

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