My relatives can be divided into two camps: the father’s side of the family and the mother’s side. The two camps are also geographically divided with all of my dad’s side of the family residing here in Canada and save for two of my mom’s first cousins here in Canada, the rest of her family reside in Greece.
Many friends have asked why I go to Greece so often, is their not a whole other world out there to explore and enjoy? My obvious answer is “yes” BUT…I always remind them that I have aunts and uncles, dozens of cousins, friends and friends of the family and for a long time, maternal grandparents. It’s important for me to stay connected with them.
My mom’s parents have both since passed on but memories of them are triggered each time I go to Greece and I always visit the cemetary to light a candle for them.
My maternal grandmother’s(yiayia) name was Agape, translated litterally as “love”. What woman would marry at a young age, bear five children, embrace grandparents in the household, be the CEO of a household that had nine hungry mouths and manage sneak away some food to some less fortunate and starving relatives?
Only a lady with the name of Agape.
Having found a good and reliable source of quince this past autumn, my mom recalled a dish her mother (my yiayia Agape) would make during the winter months. My parents both also recall the annual slaughtering of the pigs for the winter and pork (like in much of the word) would get paired with fruits.
This dish comes from mom’s memories as a child and this dish of pork & quince is one of those food memories. Basically you have paillards of pork meat that rolled around good slices of quince and placed over a bed of potatoes and quince and tossed in olive oil plus the zest and juice of one orange.
I was skeptical as to how tasty the resulting dish would taste like but that eroded to expose a roast that was aromatic, easy on the eye and absolutely delicious.
If you can still find some quince in your neck of the woods, give this bake a try…it’s easy, it’s old school Greek and it tastes delicious.
This dish brought back many fond memories of my yiayia Agape and for me, food and aromas transports me, triggers memories. I hope this dish does the same for you.
Grandma’s Pork & Quinces (Î§Î¿Î¹ÏÎ¹Î½ÏŒ & ÎšÏ…Î´ÏŽÎ½Î¹Î± Ï„Î·Ï‚ Î“Î¹Î±Î³Î¹Î¬Ï‚)
1 1/2 of lean bonless pork (loin, or leg)
12 medium to large Russet or other baking potatoes
1/3 cup of olive oil
zest and juice of 1 orange
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heated 450F oven
- To slice your pork thinly, place the piece of meat in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden. Cut thin slices of pork, say about 3-4 per person and place each piece between plastic wrap and pound out into paillards (cutlets). Reserve.
- Peel and cut your potatoes into uniform sizes and place in the roasting pan. Peel and core your quinces. Two quinces should be cut up into chunks that are the size of the potatoes and the other two quince should be cut up into 1/2cm slices that can fit and rolled into the pork paillards (cutlets).
- Pour the olive oil over the potatoes and quince, add the zest and juice of one orange and preheat your oven. Season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat the potatoes and quince. Taste the oil in the pan to check and adjust seasoning accordingly.
- Assemble your pork and quince rolls by laying out a pork cutlet, lightly season the inside with salt and pepper and place a slice of quince at one of the cutlet. Roll the pork around the quince (snugly) and afix with a toothpick. Continue assembling your pork and quick rolls until all the pork has been rolled. If there’s any pieces of quince left, toss them in the roasting pan with the potatoes and quince.
- Lightly season the outside of your pork and quince roll-ups and place on the bed of potatoes and quince. Place in your pre-heated oven for 30 minutes and then take out the baking dish and flip the pork-rolls so that the underside also cooks to a nice deep-brown colour. Reduce the oven’s temperature to 400f and continue to roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Serve each plate with a pile of potatoes and quince, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil and serve with a winter green salad.
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