Why Pears Are a Recipe for Perfection

Why Pears Are a Recipe for Perfection

Why Pears Are a Recipe for Perfection

With the recent weather disruptions, the market has been a little unstable lately, and as a chef, that makes me want to return to the ingredients and flavors I know best. 

Pears are doing extremely well right now, and their subtle floral sweetness and adaptable texture can carry through into many cooking applications. They are delicious roasted alongside pork shoulder, onions, and marjoram, perhaps a splash of Calvados to de-glaze the pot. 

Before it gets too cold, try marinating lamb chops in diced, bruised pears, throwing them on the grill with fennel and topped with pear chutney. Pistachios and fresh shallots thrown in right at the end create a zingy pop of color and texture. 

And dessert, of course, cannot be missed. I love making a Tarte Tatin-inspired filling of deeply caramelized pears, brown butter, sugar, and a bit of brandy to use as a filling for crepes or poured over vanilla ice cream. 

Pears are also beautiful simply poached in cardamom and lime syrup, or with lots of red wine! Lastly, don’t be afraid to pair pears (see what I did there?) with bold flavors like stilton, walnuts, miso, and oinos. The sweetness can cut through just about any umami!

 

Red Wine-Poached Pears

Pears are a great choice for this dessert because they are floral and firm enough to hold their shape during poaching.

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups red wine (I use an inexpensive, medium-dry wine)

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • Peels from 1 orange

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • A small handful of thyme

  • 6 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored, stems left intact

Directions

  1. Combine everything, save for the pears in a large, heavy saucepan. 

  2. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer. 

  3. Add pears, and bring everything back up to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes. 

  4. Transfer pears to a plate or platter. Boil liquid in saucepan until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes for a luxurious sauce. 

  5. Sometimes I also add a splash of balsamic vinegar to mine for an extra zing! Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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