Roasted root vegetables.are easy, tasty, but pretty mundane. But, sneak in an imposter—chunks of fruity quince—and this popular side dish sings a different tune.
|Quince, an autumn fruit, joins up with a pan of root vegetables.|
Quince (membrillo) is an autumn fruit. It looks like an oversized knobbly yellow-green apple, with a spicy fragrance and a slightly grainy texture. It is rock-hard, even when ripe, and must be cooked to be edible. It has an abundance of pectin, which allows the fruit when cooked with sugar to set up as a solid jelly or paste..
Peeling and coring quince is tough work. But if you first cook it for 15 minutes, it becomes easy to peel and cut into cubes.
What vegetables to use? Carrots (zanahorias), turnips (nabos), parsnips (chirivías), rutabaga (colinabo), sweet potatoes (batatas, boniatos), celeriac (apio-nabo), small onions (cebollas franceses), beets (remolachas), potatoes (purple potatoes are pretty), and, while not a root vegetable, pumpkin or other winter squash. Combine them in any quantity you like.
After prepping the vegetables, I par-boiled all of them for 5 minutes, which cut the roasting time to just 45 minutes. They can slide into the top shelf of the oven while a roast is finishing up below. (I saved the vegetable blanching water, a well-flavored vegetable broth, for cooking lentils another day.)
I seasoned the vegetables and quince with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Other possibilities are rosemary, sage, bay leaf, garlic and/or spices such as pimentón (sweet or hot, smoked or unsmoked); allspice, ginger, nutmeg, caraway, cumin or fennel seeds.
|Vegetables can roast along with chicken or meat.|
|There's an imposter with the root veggies--chunks of fruity quince.|
|Exposed! Cooked quince is slightly pink in color.|
Roasted Root Vegetables with Quince
Verduras Asadas con Membrillo
Verduras Asadas con Membrillo
|Spread vegetables in a single layer to roast.|
Serves 6 as a side dish.
1 large quince
3-4 pounds assorted root vegetables
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Herbs and/or spices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Cut the quince in half. Peel and cut carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, etc., in approximate 1 ½-inch pieces. Peel the onions and cut a notch in root end.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook quince in the water for 15 minutes. Skim out the two halves and drain. Cook all the remaining vegetables, two or three at a time, in boiling water for just 5 minutes. Lift them out with a skimmer or slotted spoon and drain well.
When quince is cool enough to handle, peel it and cut out core and seeds. Cut the quince into pieces about the size of the vegetables.
Combine all the vegetables and quince in a large bowl. Add the oil, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on an oven tray or sheet pan. Scatter herb or spice over vegetables.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the tray of vegetables on the top rack of the oven. Roast them, turning occasionally, until they begin to show brown spots, about 45 minutes (longer if roasting at lower oven temperature). Sprinkle with lemon juice and keep the vegetables hot until serving.
More recipes for roasted vegetables:
Roasted Beet Salad.
More recipes with quince:
Quince Jelly; Braised Lamb with Quince.
Quince and Ginger Olive Oil Cake.