Fond memories of prunes

Some of you may be wondering what else we have been eating the last few days. Well, since there are only two of us it takes a while to get through the leftovers but I have again been cooking afresh inspired by the 'Jerusalem' book recipes.


One of the first 'grown-up' meals I perfected as a student was something we called pork and prune stew. Though dead easy to make, I haven't come across many other prune orientated recipes over the years. But this morning when browsing I came across 'Slow cooked veal with prunes and leek' on page 206 and my mind was made up. The recipe itself is part of the Sephardic Jewish tradition, slow cooking and the combination of meat and dried fruit. It did require a quick run down to Waitrose which, at 10 in the morning, is quite seething I discovered. However, they did have the key ingredient, the osso buco steaks, which I had never bought before.




4 large osso buco steaks on the bone (about 1 kg) - oxtail could be used

2 large onions (500g)

3 garlic cloves, crushed

100 ml dry white wine

250ml stock

400g tin chopped tomatoes

fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

shave strips of orange rind

2 small cinnamon sticks

Half tsp allspice

2 star anise

Leeks (800g) cut into 1.5cm slices

200g soft prunes

salt and pepper


To serve: 120g Greek yoghurt, chopped flat leaf parsley, lemon zest, crushed garlic.


This dish takes a lot of preparation so I started in the morning. Preheat oven to 160C Fan / Gas Mark 4.

Fry the veal for two minutes on each side  in oil in large heavy pan. Take meat from the pan and put back onions and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes until onions are soft and golden. Add the wine, bring to the boil and simmer until reduced. Add half of the stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves,, orange rind, cinnamon, allspice and star anise together with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil and add back the veal pieces.


Put all of this is a deep baking tray, cover and place in oven for two and a half hours. I checked it once during this time to see if I needed to add any water. At the end of this time, lift out the pieces of meat and remove the bone but make sure all the meat and marrow is left behind.


Brown the leeks for five minutes then add to the meat and tomato sauce together with the prunes. Cover and cook for another hour. Serve hot with the cold yoghurt on top, parsley, lemon zest and garlic.