Tarragon gives these quinces a mysterious hint of licorice.
3 3⁄4 cups (1 bottle) dry white wine
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 split vanilla bean
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
Peel of 1⁄2 lemon
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, 1 cup water, sugar, vanilla bean, tarragon, and lemon peel.
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.