I was super pleased to find my local supermarket selling quince the other day. Quince do not grow in Finland and few Finns have heard of them. The supermarket had even provided a leaflet instructing people on ways to use them! So for those of you who have never tried quince, here is a quick lowdown. Quince are related the apple and pear, turning golden yellow when ripe, looking a little like a fat knobbly pear. They are usually too hard or sour to be eaten raw, however they work well when cooked. They have a strong and fragrant flavour and are often added to apple dishes to intensify the flavour. I would describe the taste like a tart/ sour appley pear. In the UK you often find quince jam, but the fruit’s tartness also works well in savoury dishes. This soup is perfect for winter – creamy, satisfying and comforting. If you can’t find quince, feel free to replace it with a couple of tart apples. Just make sure they are a variety that breaks down during cooking, or you could lose the soup’s velvety finish.
Celeriac and Quince Soup
1 medium or half a large celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
1 quince, peeled cored and cut into chunks
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 vegetable stock cube (even better make your own veg stock)
a good pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
chopped almonds, Oatly creme fraiche , toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped basil and olive oil to serve
Add a little olive to a large pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until they begin to turn translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds before adding the celeriac and quince. Cook for 20 mins, covered, over a low heat, stirring occasionally so the vegetables do not brown.
Remove the lid and add water to a couple of cm above the ingredients. Add the stock cube and simmer for further 25 minutes.
Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and blend the soup until smooth. Check the seasoning, decorate and serve.