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Wine Poached Pears

2 ripe but firm Bosc or Barlett pears
1.5 cup red wine (Pinot Noir, Shiraz, or Zinfandel will do)
1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or store bought)
1/2 cup sugar (may be substituted with honey or nectar – adjust quantity as you will need less honey/nectar than sugar)
1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 finger-length cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
A few whole peppercorns (optional)

  1. In a deep non-reactive pot, combine the wine and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the lemon rind, orange juice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and peppercorns. Simmer the liquid at low heat for about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add the pears to the liquid on their sides and keep the heat at medium to low to keep the liquid at a slow simmer.
  3. Cook the pears in the liquid with the pot partly covered, for 30–40 minutes (pears will turn soft quicker if they were not firm). Turn the pears frequently to make sure they absorbs the color from the wine evenly on all sides.
  4. Test to see if the pears are done by using a knife end or skewer (they should be tender, but not mushy and falling apart).
  5. The above steps may be made a couple of days in advance. Cool the liquid and the pears, then transfer it to a container. Make sure the poaching liquid covers the pears; if it doesn’t you will have to turn the fruits around a few times to have an even color. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  6. When ready to serve, remove the pears. Strain the liquid, bring the liquid to a boil, and continue simmering until the liquid gets thick and slightly syrupy. (Syrupy consistency is achieved when the syrup coats the back of a spoon.)
  7. Transfer the pears to a serving dish and pour the thickened liquid over the pears.