15 saffron threads, soaked in 1 tblsp hot water for 10 mins
3 tblsps lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
3 tblsp tomato concentrate
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
30g unsalted butter
2 medium to large quinces
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup rice (long or medium grain)
3 shallots, thinly sliced
Place the onion and olive oil in a heavy bottomed oven-proof saucepan (that has a tight fitting lid) on the stove at low-medium heat. Cook about 12 minutes until softened, then add the turmeric. Allow to cook for a minite, stirring with a wooden spoon, then add the meat. Allow the meat to brown all over, stirring frequently then add the drained lentils, saffron water, lemon juice, cinnamon, tomato paste, salt, pepper and water and stir. Once it starts simmering, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about one hour and a quarter, stirring every now and then.
After about 50 minutes, start preparing the quinces. Wash them well, rubbing off the furry coating on the skin. Cut the quinces in quarters and remove the central core (like you would an apple), then cut into thin slices, leaving the yellow skin in place. Place the butter in a large non-stick frypan and place on the stove at medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the sliced quinces and cook for about ten minutes until the quinces are starting to soften, tossing so both sides get cooked. If you do not have a large frypan the quince slices can be cooked in batches. Once cooked through, scatter on the sugar, tossing it through a minute or two until it dissolves. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180c. Remove the pot with the meat stew from the stove and give it a good stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and if it looks dry, add another half cup of water. Layer the cooked quinces on top of the meat, cover with a lid and place in the oven for an hour, until the meat is cooked through and tender.
Fifteen minutes before the stew is ready, rinse the rice in cold water a couple of times, drain and then put into a small saucepan. Cover the rice with clean tap water until there is about a fingers width of water covering it. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put on the stove on medium heat until it comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and set the timer to ten minutes.
After ten minutes, there should be no water left in the saucepan with the rice and it should be cooked through. Fluff it up with a fork and remove from the heat. Place the cooked rice in a bowl and stir through the chopped spring onion.
Divide rice in four serving bowls and spoon on the beef and quince stew, extra sauce, then top with slices of quince.