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Vegetarian Quince And Parsnip Medley

Vegetarian Quince And Parsnip Medley
Laura McCandlish for NPR

"Queen of Quince" Barbara Ghazarian includes this "curiously sweet" recipe in her new cookbook Simply Quince (Mayreni Publishing 2009). These two "ugly duckling" foods blend together into a beautiful stew. The aromatic dish would grace any Thanksgiving table. Serve it over rice, bulgur pilaf, couscous or even, as I did, polenta.

Makes 8 servings

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Two 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound parsnips, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)

1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh quinces, peel left on, cored and cut into bite-size pieces (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 bunch)

1/2 cup currants

1 cup vegetable broth

3 tablespoons shelled pistachio nuts, optional

Saute the onion in the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until the onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, curry, cinnamon, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, quince, garbanzos, parsley, currants and broth.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/4 hours, or until the parsnips and quince are tender throughout. Adjust seasonings to taste. Sprinkle with pistachio nuts, if desired, and serve.

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