Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quince Charming?

     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
Olive oil
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:

 Whoa, Mama!

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!


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