An Ode to Poached Pears
Ahhh, Thanksgiving dinner… The moment after all the buying, preparation and time spent rooted in the kitchen, the dinner is finally served to much exclaim.Of course “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. The time when silence falls over the table, and family and guests savor with gusto the bounty of food, on their hopefully pre-warmed plates.
Lately, I’ve been bombarded by on line recipes for pumpkin and pecan pies. It makes me question how many variations there are of these standard holiday desserts.So this year, I’m bucking tradition and making pears poached in red wine sauce instead.
It’s a recipe that my Mother handed down to me, which is particularly significant to me because she passed away this year at 93. She was a fabulous cook, who rarely followed recipes or wrote hers down. So I was fortunate that she took pen in hand and recorded this one.
It has all three “E’s” necessary for it to be a must try recipe. It’s easy, epic and extremely edible. It is also perfectly offsets the rich and calorie-laden dishes that precede it.
If you only knew what I add to mashed potatoes to make them melt in your mouth, you would be (borrowing a term from the very amusing and must read blog, The Vintage Contessa) “gobsmacked”.
This recipe is for 4 hungry souls
What you’ll need:
2 cups of dry red wine, such as cabernet or merlot
1 orange, juiced
1 cinnamon stick
6 ounces of red currant jelly
4 firm, ripe pears (such as Bartlett)
1 slice of orange peel`
What to do:
-In a 4-quart saucepan, combine wine, orange juice, cinnamon stick and red currant jelly
-Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
-While the liquid is simmering peel pears, leaving the stems intact
-Slice ½ an inch off the bottom of the pears to create a flat bottom
-Gently place pears in poaching liquid cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to ensure even color, until pears are cooked though but still firm.
-Remove saucepan from flame, uncover and cool upright in the pan.
-Once cool, cover and chill in refrigerator for at 3 hours or up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
-Gently remove pears from liquid and allow them to come to room temperature.
-Meanwhile reduce liquid by about half over a medium-high flame for 15 minutes, until liquid is thicker and slightly syrupy.
-Remove from flame and let liquid come to room temperature.
-Drizzle each pear with about 2 tablespoons syrup and serve.