Red wine poached honey belle pears with gorgonzola and walnuts
I saw these pears at the store the other day. You think of pears as a fall fruit but this honey belle pear variety is only available here for a short time in the spring, from March to May. It’s a New Zealand pear, small and colourful with a pink blush over a lovely green background. It has a sweet flavour and crisp texture and I enjoyed eating it fresh, sliced into salads and poached in a bottle of red wine.
Poached pears with creamy gorgonzola and walnuts is one of those moment in cooking when the stars are aligned. Add a drizzle of the wine reduction and you have a flavour combination made in heaven. Don’t mean to get spiritual here but it is that good.
I peeled the little fellows. leaving the stem intact and poached them in a bottle of merlot and 2/3 cups sugar. I stopped cooking when the pears were ready and stored them in a covered container the fridge more or less submerged in the liquid. I also placed plastic wrap right over the pears so they were not exposed to air. When I was ready to proceed I removed the pears from the liquid and cooked the wine sauce until it was reduced to a syrupy consistency. This made a wonderful sauce to serve with the pears and gorgonzola. The pears do not become mushy, they retains good texture that compliments the creamy gorgonzola and contrast with the crispy toasted walnuts. The wine reduction with its sweet and tangy flavours brings everything together in perfect harmony. I wish I had some right now, these were so delicious.
8 honey belle pears
1 bottle red wine (merlot, zinfandel or another fruit forward wine)
2/3 cup sugar
peel of 1 lemon
A handful of walnuts
Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife leaving the stem intact. You can leave some of the peel around the stem.
Place the wine and sugar into a pot large enough to hold the pears in the liquid and bring to a boil.
Add the pears, lower heat to a simmer and cook partially covered until pears are cooked through. You can insert a thin knife into a pear to check if it is done, about 25 minutes or so.
Let the pears cool in the liquid. If not using immediately transfer the pears and liquid to a container, place plastic wrap over the pears and cover with a lid. Keep refrigerated until needed.
When ready to proceed remove pears from the liquid and set aside. Bring the liquid to a boil and let reduce at a slow boil until it reaches a syrupy cionsistency. Check frequently being careful not to let it over reduce. It will thicken as it cools.
Drizzle some of the wine reduction over the plate, then place two pears (per serving), a piece of gorgonzola and a couple of walnuts on each plate.
Drizzle some of the sauce over the pears.
Serve at cool room temperature. I like the pears a little chilled and the cheese at warmer room temperature.