What I had for dinner:

Roast Beef and Baked Quince

in fruit sauce

[ Previous ] 20 Sep 1994 23:24:46 -0400 [   Next   ]

The first quince of the season, a short season at that, and I'm about to go away! I had to seize the opportunity.

For the uninitiated, and sadly there are many in modern urban America, quince are the fruit of a tree of the apple family. They look somewhat like large green apples with an apple/pear aroma. The flesh is woody, and cannot be eaten raw. Quince are always cooked, either whole as vegetables, or as jelly, jam, or fruit leather (a great favorite of mine).

To cook it as a vegetable, a quince should be halved or quartered, peeled, and cored carefully. The area surrounding the seeds, which in apples is clearly visible but has the same texture as the rest of the fruit, is not as easy to see in a quince and it always remains woody no matter how well cooked. It is important to trim it away completely, or the quince will have gritty bits in it.

The quince is best steamed first until it is completely tender (a skewer penetrates without difficulty), which takes 30 to 45 min. Baking is too slow, and dries it too much.

I placed the steamed quince pieces in a shallow dish in the oven next to the roasting beef, and basted it with a mixture of the juice and strained pulp of blackberries, with a little lemon juice. It is possible to glaze the pieces with a little sugar and to caramelize it under the broiler, but I did not go to such extremes.

The beef was smeared lightly with a mixture of a little Roquefort and crushed garlic, and placed in a roasting plastic bag at 325 F to cook until rare to medium rare (check with a meat thermometer: internal temperature of 125 F).

To drink: pink lemonade. There will be plenty of beer tomorrow!

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