That thing in the front there that looks like a pear is a quince. It's like the pear's hardest, sourest, crunchiest cousin. The chef guy at my favorite grocery store even gave them the stink eye. But when I asked him if he thought they'd be good in roast veggies, his eyes lit up like Christmas. They smell really sweet, a little like a flower. Usually, quinces are made into jam or jelly or a pie with another sweeter fruit like apples. Roasted, they do become quite mushy, but keep their slightly sour taste. I used two sweet root vegetables to help lift it a little. Overall, it was pretty interesting. If you can't find a quince, you could use apples in this or a firm pear.
Roast Quince and Root Vegetables
5 or 6 small red potatoes (skin on)
1 peeled quince
2 small beets, peeled
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
1 large parsnip, peeled
1/2 large onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, quartered
1 stem rosemary
2 stems thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°. Slice the beets into rounds and chop the quince and all the veggies into bite size pieces. Toss the veggies and the quince with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss in the leaves of the rosemary. Roast covered for 45-60 minutes. Remove cover, add thyme leaves and roast for another 30 minutes or until the onion has started to brown nicely. And then you get this:
The quince stays a little sour. Mixed in with a big bite of everything though, it virtually disappears. It just leaves a little bit of something to accent the rest. I like it. But it's not for everybody. My kids, for example... If your family is full of traditionalists, use an apple. If you've got a bunch of
weird adventurous family members give em' a quince!