Pears Poached In Red Wine – Whip It UP!
BUILD heart and gut health with this French classic, Poires à la Beaujolaise (Pears Poached In Beaujolais). Originating in the wine-growing area of Beaujolais during the 19th century, pears which were likely to end up in bins were picked for cooking to minimise wastage. This simple recipe was elevated to haute cuisine status when served on fine chinaware by chefs including the late French culinary legend Paul Bocuse. Bump up your intake of probiotics by serving it with yoghurt.
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 persons
A: Pears and Spices
4 pears, peeled and soaked in brine
1 cinnamon stick, 6-7 cm
1 star anise
Thumb-sized ginger, sliced
10g goji berries
B: Poaching Liquid
400ml red wine: Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
1 orange, rind and juice
50g sugar, granulated
C: For Serving
100ml yoghurt, preferably Greek-style or Indian
1 sprig of mint, leaves only
Orange, zest only, optional
1. Place spices except ginger and goji berries in a large saucepan. Remove pears from brine and add them into the saucepan, lying on their sides.
2. Pour in B ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
3. Add ginger. Allow pears to gently simmer for 25-30 minutes until tender. Rotate pears intermittently to ensure they are fully submerged in poaching liquid.
4. Add in goji berries. Cook another 5 minutes. Using a skewer, prick 1 pear gently to check that they are tender.
5. Transfer pears to a plate. If desired, refrigerate them overnight and serve them chilled.
6. Allow poaching liquid to continue simmering until it is reduced by half. It will gradually thicken and become syrupy. Using a strainer, sieve liquid and discard solids except for the goji (set berries aside). This becomes the wine sauce for serving.
7. To serve, dollop 1 tablespoon of yoghurt onto a serving plate. Opt for yoghurt that is curd-style.
Pop pear on top of yoghurt. Spoon wine sauce over pear. Garnish with goji berries, fresh mint and orange zest.
8. Alternatively, enjoy poached pears the classic way with wine sauce, sans yoghurt.
BUYING TIPS: For pears, choose ripe fruit which are still firm to the touch and holds its shape after cooking. Suitable cultivars include Bosc, Anjou (pictured below) and Chinese pear Nashi – they are crisp, sweet and very juicy at peak ripeness.
Wines: Go with a classic crisp and fresh Beaujolais Nouveau. Alternatively, reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot belong to the same grape cultivar (Cabernet Franc from Basque county) and they share a similar flavour profile. While the Sauvignon has more tannins (contributing to its robustness) than the Merlot (less astringent and fruitier) both wines are suitable.
Photos: Evonne Lyn Lee