A very autumnal dinner

Sometimes you make a dinner where the flavour combinations come together better than you dare expect, and you end up making a menu that you know you will return to again and again.

Yesterday was one of those dinners. I made:

Slow-braised leg of mutton
Smoked roseval potatoes
Roast crown prince squash

followed by

Orange-baked quince

The mutton recipe I used was derived from this recipe from the Blackface Meat Company although I had a smaller joint of meat so it only needed about 3.5 hours in all.

I really like Roseval potatoes and always pick them up when I spot them in the supermarket. They are a waxy, salad potato with a thick pink-purple skin which I usually peel off, leaving a pink middle layer. To prepare smoked potatoes you boil the unpeeled potatoes in salted water until tender and leave to cool. Peel the potato, trying not to remove too much of the layer immediately under the skin. I cool-smoked the potatoes for about an hour using oak and apple. Then reheat the potatoes in butter when you are ready to serve.

I won’t patronise you with a recipe for roast squash, but I strongly recommend seeking out the Crown Prince, this variety has a light blue-green skin and a lovely delicate flavoured orange flesh. Charbel sells them at Harborne and Moseley markets at the moment.

Baked quince is easy. This is another recipe from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. Wash the skin of the quince and then wrap each quince in foil. Sit them upright in an oven dish and bake in a hot oven until quite tender (say 1 hour). Remove, and let cool. To make the orange syrup dissolve 275g caster sugar in 250ml water, add 5 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 tsp orange-flower water. Remember not to stir the syrup after it has come to the boil so it doesn’t crystallise. Then, halve each quince removing the core as you go. Place the quince flesh-side down in an oven dish and pour over the syrup. Bake until the quince are very soft and “treacly”. Serve with creme fraiche.

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