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The Earthbound Cook
by Myra Goodman


If you've never cooked with quince before, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Although they closely resemble apples, this heirloom fruit is refreshingly distinctive. With sticky skins, a large proportion of seeds and core, and tart flesh, quinces are more obstinate to prepare than apples, but the extra bit of effort involved is rewarded by their haunting fragrance and flavor. Here we've created a sweet-spicy condiment that makes a delicious accompaniment to roast pork, chicken, or turkey. Quince pairs beautifully with other autumn fruits, and juicy pears make an exceptional partner. Ginger, in both fresh and crystallized forms, enlivens the mixture and adds a counterpoint of spice and heat to the chutney. Verjus is the juice of unripe grapes and is nonalcoholic; look for it at specialty stores.
Makes about 4 cups


    • 1½ cups verjus or fruity white wine, such as Riesling or Viognier
    • 1 cup sugar, or more to taste
    • 1 star anise pod
    • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches), broken in half
    • 1/4 cup finely grated peeled fresh ginger
    • 2 cups diced peeled quince (1/2-inch dice; about 3 medium quinces)
    • 3 large firm pears, cored, peeled, and cut Into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
    • 1/2 cup golden raisins
    • 1/4 cup finely diced crystallized ginger


1. Combine the verjus or wine, sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick, and grated fresh ginger in a medium- size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the quince and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the pears and raisins. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture until the quince and pears are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and skim off any foam. Stir in the crystallized ginger.

3. Spoon or ladle the hot chutney into clean glass jars, cover tightly, and let sit at room temperature until cool. The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 6 months. Discard the cinnamon stick and star anise pod before serving.


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