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Sunday Supper, Kitchen Slavery, Quince

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Sweetlife Sunday Supper

(make that supper with friends on Sunday, lunch on Monday and dinner on Tuesday)

Eating well is a passion, but I'm not a slave to my kitchen. In fact, I can be pretty lazy about cooking. One good outcome evolved from a lifetime of doing it is that I am pretty good at making kitchen time count and using ingredients on hand. We both love leftovers, so laziness is indulged by making large quantities in order to have some to enjoy later.

Last Sunday morning, after the usual catching up on news/drinking coffee, I walked into the kitchen to make our traditional weekly big breakfast that always includes eggs and bacon. Sunday is the only day I actually cook breakfast; the other days we are each on our own to eat our go-to homemade granola and homemade yogurt or toast with jam, cheese or whatever else either of us feels like eating, at the time of morning that fits into our individual plan for the day

A note about kitchen slavery: traditions remove some of the work because they require less thought or preplanning. There is also comfort in knowing what to expect at certain times: Sunday is the day we enjoy a sit down, full-on breakfast that we both love. We always eat later in the morning, after reading the Sunday NYT, then we skip lunch and have an early-ish supper.

But I digress.

When I walked into the kitchen, the tropical fruity aroma of a gorgeous bowl of quince sitting on the counter wafted like a siren's call. We had a ginormous crop this year, and Bob has been making quince paste and quince jelly until he can't stand to make any more (and felt like a kitchen slave). I decided to make a savory dish using some of that beautiful quince. Turns out I also got to use just harvested 'Sweet Meat' pumpkin, as well as onions and garlic from the garden (this is one of those good ways the truism "if it's there, they will use it" works; too bad the same is also true about guns-but I digress again). Breakfast was served later than usual, but dinner was prepared before breakfast, and the kitchen only got dirty once! Laziness sometimes begets efficiency....

Sweetlife Sunday Supper with Quince, Pumpkin and Chorizo

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp leftover bacon fat

1 lb chorizo, casing removed

4 cups winter squash or pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2" cube ( I used 'sweet meat' pumpkin, a northwest specialty variety)

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice

3 quince, cored (not peeled) and cut into 1" chunks or slices

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup pickled garlic (this is optional, but if you have it, throw it in for an extra flavor twist)

2 cups prepared salsa or 1 can chopped tomatoes 

2 cups water or chicken stock

1 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped

2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated

*Cook the rice, covered, with 3 cups water, until water has evaporated and rice is al dente.

While the rice is cooking, sauté the onion and garlic in a large pot until limp but not brown.

Add the chorizo, breaking it up into small bits, and cook until it's starting to get brown and all the liquid has cooked away. Remove from the heat.

Add the rice, quince, raisins, pickled garlic, salsa or tomatoes and water or stock. Stir to combine, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mixture into a large rectangular baking dish and cover with foil. The dish should be large enough that the ingredients are not more than 2-3" deep (hint: use more than one dish and freeze some for a future lazy meal). It can be refrigerated or frozen at this point, to be baked later.

Bake at 375 for about an hour (it will take longer if it has been refrigerated; if it is frozen, start by cooking for 45 min at 300, then increase temp to 375 for about a half hour.

When it is bubbling hot and the squash and quince are tender, remove the foil and cook 15 min longer.

To serve, sprinkle the top with the chopped cilantro, then cover with the grated cheese. Let it sit for about five minutes, to allow the cheese to melt on top. The photo was taken before baking, without the cilantro and cheese; totally forgot to take one when it came out of the oven--too anxious to try it!

I served this with a simple spinach salad and garlic toast, and a yellow plum sorbet for dessert.

Leftovers were not a hardship....

*When I put this recipe up yesterday, I left out this step! Hopefully no one tried it last night, and ended up with underdone rice....