Poached Pears in Red Wine

Are you hosting an intimate gathering or looking for an elegant dessert to serve to your guests?  Poached Pears in Red Wine is an simple and elegant dessert that will sure impress guests and be the perfect dish to end a enjoyable evening of conversation and laughter.  

With the holidays right around the corner, it is time at home entertaining, and enjoying time with family and friends.  If you have several gatherings you will be hosting, you want to make it as stress free as possible.   Here are a few things I do when preparing for a small gathering.

– Plan the menu ahead of time. 
– Know what foods your guests enjoy.   If you know there is a certain food someone loves, find a special recipe for a dish to create for them.  
– Set an intimate table filled with candles and fresh flowers.  Break out the good china and have the table set before guests arrive.  
– Have a little bar set up in an area where you guests can mingle before sitting at the table.  Even if you just pull out a table and tuck it in the corner of the room.  Dress it up with some candles, wine, wine glasses and make a signature cocktail that sets the theme for the evening that is also in line with the menu.  
– Make out the menu on your computer and print it out.  Find a frame and have it set in the bar area so your guests can see what you will be serving.  
– Have one or two appetizers ready to go before your guests arrive.  Serve them before everyone is seated at the table.  While guests are mingling and enjoying a few appetizers, this gives you time to add the final touches to the dinner.  Try the Pesto and Cream Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes as an appetizer.  Simple and delicious.  You don’t want to serve a lot of heavy appetizers before dinner.  
– Before guests arrive prepare an elegant salad of baby greens and spinach topped with your favorite cheese, pecans or walnuts, grapes or raspberries.  Plate them individually and drizzle with a homemade dressing like a raspberry walnut vinaigrette before serving to your guests.
– Serve a main course that can be made ahead of time or started before your guests arrive and cook in the oven.  Pull the entree from of the oven as guests are enjoying salads to let rest before serving.
– Nothing beats the end of an enjoyable evening than a delicious dessert of Poached Pears in Wine Sauce.  Serve with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream which is a wonder compliment to the red wine reduction that is infused with lemon, lemon zest, cinnamon and cloves.  

Poached Pears in Red Wine

1 1/2 cups red wine (I used Merlot)
1 cup sugar
2 strips of lemon rind
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 firm pears (I used Bosc)

Peel the pears and core the bottoms. Remove any flesh off the bottom of the pears if necessary if they won’t stand upright.  Set aside.

Wrap cloves and cinnamon sticks in cheesecloth and tie ends to close.  

In a large saucepan combine wine, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice and cheesecloth bag and bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low until sugar dissolves.

Lay pears in liquid and turn them to coat.  Poach them over low heat for approximately 30-45 minutes until pears are tender, turning occasionally.  Turn off heat and let pears cool in liquid before removing.  

Remove cheesecloth from liquid and turn heat to low.  Cook the remaining liquid until syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Pour a portion of the red wine reduction over each pear and serve.  

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