Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stewed prunes. Really.

I realize that this picture isn't going to convince anyone that the much-maligned prune can be delicious, but if you could taste it, I think you'd love it. I'm reading a food memoir (I love that there's a genre of books called food memoirs!) called A Homemade Life, which I came across when I was reading the blog of the author of My Berlin Kitchen, another food memoir.

The recipes in A Homemade Life are simple Americana - the kind of stuff that some foodies might scoff at (such as potato salad, which the author swears is the best, made with Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing). But that's exactly the point of the book, or at least one of the points, I think. These recipes are actually the recipes the author grew up with in her family, and I have to admit, I kind of want to try some. One of the recipes that fascinated me was one for stewed prunes. I mean, it just sounds gross.

And yet. The way the author described how juicy and plump the prunes are, and how they're so good that she thinks they're better than fresh plums...well, I was intrigued. So today, I cooked a pot of stewed prunes. And what do you know - they are really delicious. They really are nothing like the dried prunes in the bag - they are plump and juicy and sweet and homey. I kind of enjoyed eating a couple straight out of the pot after they had cooled a bit, but you could serve it with oatmeal or yogurt or vanilla ice cream too. I didn't follow the author's recipe exactly, which includes a cinnamon stick, because I wasn't sure if I'd like the spice mixed in. I love the way it tastes without cinnamon, but I might try cooking it with a stick next time too, just to see how it tastes.

Ingredients/Source in HK
A bag of pitted prunes (I used Del Monte) - I'm pretty sure you can find these anywhere in HK, I found them at an International grocery store
One orange, the sweetest you can find - oranges are in season right now and they are SO sweet! I got mine at the big Wellcome on Caine Road

Wash the orange (I use fruit & vegetable spray). Slice the orange into very thin slices. Put the orange slices and prunes in a pot, fill with water until just covered. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the water has become sweet and almost syrupy. The oranges should be almost falling apart. Let it cool before you serve, or bring it to room temperature then refrigerate.

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