The recipe for this dish comes from The Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook, or Kitab ak tabikh (edited by Candida Martinelli, ISBN 9781478123248), and graced the lunch table at Crown. People appeared to enjoy it, for which I am glad. I was even told there might be marriage proposals on the strength of this lamb dish alone! So that you too can make a dish that might net you a partner of choice, this is the recipe.
Original as per the source above:
Tuffahiyya, a Dish made with Apples
Take the flesh of a young fat lamb or calf and cut it in small pieces. Put in a pot with salt, pepper, coriander seed, saffron, oil, and a little water. Put it on a low fire until the meat is done. Then add tart apples, peeled and cleaned, as many as needed, cut in fourths. Cook this with the meat. And when you take it to the hearthstone, put in a little sugar, and cut with musk and camphor dissolved in good rose water.
The acidity is most efficacious in lightening and strengthening the heart and it can be made with the flesh of birds, such as fat hens or young squabs of the domestic dove or stock-dove and then it will be finer and better.
Changes and substitutions made:
Musk and camphor proved to be too difficult to source in the time and money available. Mint and mastic were used instead. The tart apples used were Granny Smith, and quinces were added for further tartness and flavour.
The ratio of fruit to meat was about 1/3 fruit to 2/3 meat; you can use more fruit if you want more sauce. If you cannot find mastic, the dish is fine without. I have not tried the dish with other meat than lamb, but I can imagine it working as well with chicken or beef. Seasoning is, as always, to taste.
Ingredients: Lamb, apples, quinces, lemon, salt, pepper, ground coriander, saffron, oil, sugar, rose water, mastic, mint
Peel, core, and roughly dice the apples, putting them into lemon water to keep fresh. Peel, core, and dice the quinces, likewise in lemon water. Finely dice mint. Finely grind the mastic with a little salt and sugar in the mortar and pestle (NOT an electric grinder, it will gum up the works. Ask me how I know). Put saffron in a mug with hot water.
Brown the meat in a pan with oil, spicing it with salt, pepper, and coriander. Then put it in an oven dish with oil (if needed), lemon juice and the saffron water. Check now and again that it doesn't bake dry, adding water if needed, and let bake until almost good. (If there is no oven space or dish, keep it on the fire in a large pot.)
Drain the apples and quinces and add them to the meat, stirring them into the sauce. Season to taste
(salt, pepper, coriander, lemon juice, sugar, mastic, a DROP OR TWO of rose water, half of the mint – be very careful with the rose water and don't add all of the mastic at once, but taste before adding more or not as the case may be). Let bake until apples are soft and turn saucy, stirring occasionally.
Taste before serving, and sprinkle with the rest of the mint.
Serve with rice, bulgur, or flatbreads.