Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Poached Pears and Getting Sauced
It requires an acquired taste, doesn't it
I remember a day when the only wine I'd drink was white zinfandel. And not just any brand. It had to be Beringer. Nothing else....I was a Beringer White Zinfandel snob. Hey....what can I say....it was my segway from peach wine coolers.
It's been years since I've had that old favorite. I've broadened my horizons and stretched my taste buds. I now enjoy a wide range of wines. Over a year ago I joined an online wine club at BakeSpace that's now called Wine Pairing and Virtual Tasting. Just about every month we choose a different wine type to taste and review. It's because of this fun little club that I've learned so much about how many different kinds of wine their really are out there. I mean....wine's I've never heard of (and a few that apparently even the clerks at BevMo have never heard of, even though it's on their shelf....but that's another story).
I'm still not what you'd consider a "wine connoisseur" (or anywhere close to it). I can't identify which "berry" I detect in the bouquet....or which flavor is actually "oak" (what does oak taste like anyway?)...and if I were blind folded I seriously doubt I'd be able to tell the difference between a merlot and a shiraz. I mean...merlot in itself tastes differently from bottle to bottle...hell, you could give me two glasses of merlot and I'd probably tell you one was a shiraz.
But I enjoy wine for what it is.....I don't have to do the swirling, sniffing, slurping thing. Although it's fun to. I mean, that's when all the flavors come through....but I rarely have the time to just sit there and sip my wine along with some carefully picked foods to enhance the experience. When I open a bottle, it's usually part of the getting dinner ready routine. Chop, sip....mix, sip....saute, bowl, stir, gulp.
I feel like I'm more creative when I drink and cook. That may not be true....but if nothing else, I feel more sophisticated or something....like Julia Child. I dunno.....whatever it is....it's more fun.
Anyways....This month we added a little spin to our wine experience. Typically we review a bottle or two (or more)...include a picture and say a few things about what foods this wine tastes good with. This time we decided to add a recipe that includes the wine in it.
Oh...and our wine for this month? Sauvignon Blanc (it was actually the wine chosen for the month of December but we were all too busy to do anything with it and so now it has become the wine for April).
And thus the Poached Pears emerged. I found this lovely recipe on the BBC website. Kind of a fun site with lots to explore (food being among my top interest of course).
Sooo...the pears are suppose to be poached in Sauternes. But all the recipes I saw said a medium, sweet, white wine could be used instead.
6 Bosc pears
1 orange, juiced and pared zest
1 2/3 cups of Sauvignon Blanc
3 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup sugar
juice from 2 lemons (my lemons were tiny..like...lime size so I used 4 lemons)
1 vanilla pod, split
1 cinnamon stick, broken into short lengths
Oook...with a little knife, score a zigzag pattern in the skin around the top of each pear. Peal the skin off the body of the pear, leaving the zigzag pattern along the top, kinda like a collar, leaving the stem in tack
You want to be careful when peeling....so you can preserve the pears shape as much as possible. (I tried....I swear I did)
Remove the core from the bottom of each pear.
Cut the orange zest into strips. Now....this was new to me. Every time I've zested an orange...it was with a grater. This process required me to sorta gently cut the zest away without the white stuff. So I used a knife and thinly "peeled" the orange. I ended up with some pith still attached but not too much.
Combine everything in a large pot
Over a medium heat, bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until pears are done. Which I think would mean, tender yet firm. The time frame can vary, depending on ripeness...5 - 15 minutes.
Since bosc pears are general a very firm pear (which is why I chose them for this recipe) I let them cook a bit longer.
With a large slotted spoon, remove the pears and place in a bowl. Remove all the seasonings and discard. At this point, I allowed the liquid to simmer a bit longer to get more of a syrup consistency which didn't happen.....I was afraid the flavors would end up...I dunno...overcooked. Have you ever smelled cinnamon and citrus that's overcooked? Maybe in a potpourri? Well, i didn't want my syrup to taste like that.
Pour "syrup" over the pears and set aside until ready to serve
And there you have it. My sauvignon blanc sauced pears.
Oh wait..the pears are poached
And totally loving the aroma, the flavor...the fun! But I think this is more of a holiday recipe....I dunno...Christmas? I'm trying to think of a summery version now....with summer flavors. Any ideas?
If you'd like to see where I found this recipe, you can click --->here<---
Printable Version: Poached Pears
P.S. I'm so excited to proudly announce my first ever Tastespotting publication! They accepted the top photo!