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Pork Tenderloin with Quince, Prunes and Chestnuts

Pork Tenderloin with Quince, Prunes and Chestnuts

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This Sweet and Savoury Pork Tenderloin with Quince, Prunes and Chestnuts is a flavour-packed Autumn dish that combines succulent pork tenderloin with the rich, fruity sweetness of quinces and the earthy goodness of chestnuts.

pork tenderloin Chirino me kydonia image

Quince have a coarse texture, are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw but when cooked it softens and changes colour from creamy white to pink-dark orange and near to red whilst it releases all its sweet aroma and delicate flavour. 

The combination of quince  with the sweet  taste of prunes and the natural sweet taste of pork and the fortified Cypriot wine, called Commandaria, makes it a gourmet meal and I highly recommend it.

Quince is known from ancient years and its cultivation is said to have preceded that ofthe apple culture. Many references to “apples”, in the ancient years may have been to a quince.

Among the ancient Greeks, the quince was a ritual offering at weddings, for it had come from the Levant with Aphrodite and remained sacred to her.

Plutarch reports that a Greek bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss before entering the bridal chamber, “in order that the first greeting may not be disagreeable nor unpleasant”.

quince image

In Greek mythology it was a quince that Paris awarded Aphrodite and we also know that Heracles on his penultimate task was asked to pluck three golden apples from the tree of the Hesperides, (nymphs of the evening).

This yellow fruit was known to the Akkadians, who called it supurgillu ; Arabic سفرجل safarjal = “quinces” (collective plural).

The modern name originated in the 14th century as a plural of quoyn, via Old French cooin from Latin cotoneum malum / cydonium malum, ultimately from Greek κυδώνιον μήλον, kydonion melon “Kydonian apple” (in the figurative sense, similar to pomodoroItalian word for tomato literally meaning “apple of gold”, pomme de terre – the French word for potato, literally meaning “apple of the ground”, and the classical “golden apple”).

The quince tree is native to Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, FYROM, Greece, and Bulgaria, but the Greeks grafted from a superior strain from ancient Kydonia (Greek: Κυδωνία), now Chania, whence both the common and better-preserved genus name. (Wikipedia)

I wanted to make my twist to this traditional Greek dish and I let my instinct guide me with the addition of ginger, Commandaria, chestnuts and a variety of peppers. 

I have never seen ginger added to this recipe but my instinct was right as it added an additional flavour and warmth to the dish.

Regarding the choice of wine, this is also very original as most recipes call for red dry wine and some for white wine.

commandaria image

Commandaria is a unique lovely Cypriot sweet dessert wine with a lovely aroma and added its unique flavour to this dish.  I have experimented with Commandaria before, although I do not remember if I have posted the recipes yet.  As much as I would like to use it more often it is quite expensive to be used in every day recipes but for special dishes like this one, it is worth while.

Chestnuts was also a lovely addition, adding crunchiness and sweet taste.

Pork tenderloin with quince image

Pork Tenderloin with Quince, Prunes and Chestnuts

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This Sweet and Savoury Pork Tenderloin with Quince, Prunes and Chestnuts is a flavour-packed dish that combines succulent pork tenderloin with the rich, fruity sweetness of quinces and the earthy goodness of chestnuts.


  • 700 grams of pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large quinces
  • 10 dried prunes
  • 1 cup of boiled chestnuts
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 piece of ginger about 1 inch, grated
  • 1 - 2 pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 7 - 8 allspice berries
  • 2 - 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of Commandaria, red sweet Cypriot wine (or other fortified sweet wine)
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon green, pink, white and black ground peppers
  • 1 tablespoon thyme honey
  • Salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)


  1. Begin by boiling and peeling the chestnuts. See how to do it here.
  2. Peel quinces, cut them in slices and put them in a bowl with water and a few tablespoons of lemon juice 
  3. Wash and cut meat into pieces and drain.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and dredge into flour.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a sautéing pan and sauté the quinces on both sides  Remove to a platter and set aside 
  6. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and then add the meat and sauté on both side. Add the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate.Add honey and all the spices and finally add the ginger and the water.
  7. Add the quinces, chestnuts and prunes 
  8. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer covered, until the quinces are soft and the sauce is thick.
  9. To serve, if you like, you can puree some of the quince with the chestnuts and sauce.


If you cannot find quinces you may substitute it with apples preferably not ripe and with a sour taste.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 543Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 85mgSodium 175mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 5gSugar 14gProtein 33g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

I am submitting this recipe to Anne’s Cool Finds, who is hosting this year’s Event  A Taste of Terroir 2009.

Collage pork tenderloin with quince and prunes image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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50+ Quince Recipes (How to Cook Quince)

Monday 12th of December 2022

[…] Pork Tenderloin with Quince, Prunes, & Chestnuts […]

Jess and Brandon

Wednesday 18th of February 2015

Your recipes are mind blowing. This looks amazing.


Friday 9th of January 2009

Wonderful post and perfect for A Taste of Terroir. Thanks for participating. My mother was a fan of quince too!


Friday 9th of January 2009

Peter G, Mariana, Joan, Ben, Val, Nuria and Elly, thank you all for your comments.

Sam, I believe you as I have already said in the past that I don't trust the information found in Wikipedia, but that was the only information available.

Cake, Greek ancient men did not have bad breath ;)

Peter, I've never tried mavrodaphne before except in the Holy Communion neither port but Commandaria is also used in Cyprus for the Holy Communion, so they may be similar, although Commandaria is of a higher quality, as is said.

Teresa, I know that quince is high in pectine. If you have this recipe I would like to try it.


Friday 9th of January 2009

Looks great! I love fresh ginger so much and I'm sure it goes great here. I LOVE chestnuts, too. I will be posting a chestnut soup soon.

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