Bosc pears in red wine make a classic, but predictable, fall dessert. Quinces cooked the same way are a bit of a surprise.
3 3⁄4 cups (1 bottle) fruity red wine (such as beaujolais)
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
Peel of 1⁄2 orange
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
4 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
1⁄2 stick cinnamon
1. Peel quinces, reserving peels. (As you work, set aside peeled quinces in a bowl of water and lemon juice to prevent browning.) Place quinces in a large saucepan—a pan big enough for quinces to fit in one layer on the bottom. Add peels, which bring out that pink color, wine, orange juice, orange peel, sugar, vanilla bean, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup water.
2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and poach quinces, turning occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes (depending on variety, size, and ripeness). Allow quinces to cool in poaching liquid, then transfer to a bowl, and reduce liquid over high heat until syrupy, about 20 minutes. Strain and pour over quinces. Set aside to cool; serve at room temperature.