Greek Sofigado stew with quince
Sofigado is a traditional recipe from the Ioanian island of Lefkada made with yearling goat or lamb. Modern versions include beef, but the strong deep-flavored sweet and sour sauce really complements darker red meats.
As potatoes used to be scarce towards the end of autumn, the islanders would use the plentiful quince that was in season and would offset its tart taste with pekmez, a thick and sweet syrup made of grapes.
Many recipes pair it with rosemary, though the version below includes cinnamon and cloves as per the recipe was handed down to me by my grandmother. This is one of those dishes that improves if prepared the night before. You can heat it up and add the quince on the day of serving.
- 1 kg goat or lamb in portions
- 2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
- 2 onions, sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 70 ml vinegar
- 1 cinamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 500 ml stock or water, hot
- 100 ml pekmez
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4-5 quinces
Dry the meat well, while heating the pot. Add the oil and brown the meat on all sides in batches. Keep aside and add the onions to the pot. Cook for 7′ and add the garlic. Return the meat to the pot and add the cinnamon and cloves. Add the vinegar and allow to evaporate for 2-3′. Add just enough stock to cover the meat. Bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 1,5 hours. Check and add hot stock or water if needed.
As soon as the meat is done, add the pekmez, season and stir well. Peel and cut the quinces into wedges, removing the core. Add them to the pot one by one as you go along, so that they don’t turn brown. Cover and allow to cook in the steam of the simmering sauce for about 20′. Once they are soft but hold their shape, remove the spices and serve.