I love the fragrant non-sweetness of this poached pear recipe. You can have it as a healthy dessert, drizzled with honey and perhaps some cinnamon ice cream if you are feeling indulgent. But it could just as easily make a surprising fall or winter side dish, served with roast venison or steak, stewed onions and mashed potato. And, because this recipe makes a double portion, you will have the option to do both!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 4, with leftovers
- 8 stewing pears
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 3 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
- The grated zest of one orange
- The grated zest of one lemon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- optional: 3 to 4 drops of (organic) pink food coloring
Carefully peel the pears, leaving the stalks intact. Cut a straight slice off the bottom of the pears so that they can stand upright easily. Tightly pack them into a large pot. They should fit snugly. Pour the wine to the tops of the pears. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, sugar, zest, nutmeg and food coloring. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 1 hour, or until soft but not mushy. Remove the poached pears carefully using a spoon -- do not lift by the stalks.
Seeing as it is one of the main ingredients, it really is important to choose a good red wine. And by good I mean a wine you would actually drink yourself.
I'm not generally a fan of food coloring, but the red wine tints the pears a slightly brownish color. If you'd like a prettier, pinker color, add the food coloring.
Feel free to play around with the spices. If you like star anise, add some, or a bay leaf. But don't get too carried away, otherwise you might overwhelm the delicate natural flavor of the pears.
Serves 4 with leftovers, or 8.