Easy, Tasty Roasted Sliced Quince

quincesI’ve been failing in my efforts to get people excited about quinces. I took baskets of handsome quinces to sell along with my jams at two events this fall, but everyone wanted my Asian pears instead. I’d say, “Smell this!” And I’d push a big, beautiful yellow quince at their noses. Most described the fragrance as wonderful or heavenly or pineapple-like. A boy not quite old enough to walk or talk wrinkled his nose at an Asian pear but tried to take a big bite of the quince. I offered tastes of quince paste at one event and quince jelly at another, and the samples provoked more enthusiastic comments and questions. But when I said the fruit should be cooked, faces fell and turned away. Nobody wanted to go to the trouble of cooking quinces into jelly, jam, or paste. Even baking the fruit like apples or poaching it in wine seemed too difficult.

“Why didn’t you suggest roasting them?” Robert asked, when I came home from the second event with a nearly full basket of quinces. I hadn’t thought of that. It was exactly what I should have done.

Everybody seems to be roasting vegetables these days. You come home in the evening, turn on the oven, and slice, salt, and oil whatever starchy vegetables are at hand. You put the pan in the hot oven and read the mail and listen to the messages on the answering machine and before you know it your dinner is nearly ready; you barely have time to fry some sausages or fish fillets to accompany the veggies.

Think of quince as another vegetable for roasting. For Thanksgiving this year, I combined quinces with orange- and white-fleshed sweet potatoes and Purple Haze carrots—each ingredient sweet but uniquely textured, with the quince providing a welcome tart note. All the flavors were heightened by the drying effect of the oven heat.

roasted quince and carrots
Roasted quince and carrots, with rosemary

Before quince season ends, please try this: Half and core a quince or two—don’t bother peeling it—and slice it into wedges about 1 inch thick. Choose a vegetable or two to accompany the quince. Cut sweet potatoes, peeled if you prefer, into pieces about the same size. Cut carrots, if they’re long or thick, into pieces about ½ inch thick. Other vegetables you might try include parsnips (sliced like big carrots), potatoes (whole fingerlings or cut large tubers) and onions or shallots (sliced if they’re large). Put the quince and vegetables into a roasting pan, and, if you like, add an herb sprig or two. Toss the mixture with a little oil, spread the pieces into a single layer, and salt and pepper them. Roast them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, turning them after the first 20 minutes or so. Serve them hot.

This is not only an easy way for working people to feed themselves well; it’s also an impressive dish for company, an effective way to get children to eat fruit and vegetables, and an opportunity for even babies to learn that quinces can taste just as good as they smell.

10 thoughts on “Easy, Tasty Roasted Sliced Quince”

  1. Pot roasted quinces make a wonderful dessert , simmered with lemon juice, sugar and water for five hours until they turn a beautiful deep ruby colour. I would love to try your baked vegetables and quinces when autumn returns to us. Elaine.

  2. That sounds wonderful. I had quinces earlier in the season and made them into paradise jelly and cranberry-quince sauce. This sounds easy. I have a bunch of juice frozen to make jelly, but no more frozen fruit or else I’d try it.

  3. Wow. This was great. I happened to have a quince that I’d been putting off using, and had parsnips, a rutabaga, potatoes and onion. I forgot to put in the onion, so after about 20-25 minutes I pulled out the dish, and the quince was puffed with dark rosy roasted patches, already done ahead of everything else. I pulled the quince, added the onion, finished off roasting the rest, and had a divine meal. Thanks!

  4. What a fantastic idea! I love the heady perfume of quinces and actually stewed some in the oven to make a quince cake that I found online but this way of preparing them sounds amazing. I have a friend with a large quince tree who usually gives me a sack or two of them when the tree is producing so I am going to share this recipe with her like she shares her excess with me :)

  5. I adore quinces, and have been thrilled that they’ve been easy to get and inexpensive around here this year. I’ve already gone through half of my “year’s supply” of Quince Marmalade, in fact! We’re moving to the East Coast soon, though, and I fear I may no longer be able to find them (spoiled Californian here!)

  6. What a great idea! I wish I still had quince this year to give it a try. You don’t peel them? Do you rub off the fuzz? My mouth is watering in anticipation. ;>

    1. It’s important to use a sturdy knife. For taking out the core, it helps to have the special tool described here.
      When I’m making jelly, I halve each quince lengthwise, lay the half cut-side down, and slice crosswise right through the hard core. This way I can work fast without the risk of cutting myself.

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