Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pears in White Wine with Vanilla, Almonds & Chocolate

I confess to becoming more and more determined through my years of cooking to create recipes that are not only tasty but good for you, and that don't have artificial stuff in them (you know ... like "fat free sour cream." Honestly.) But to do so successfully has always been a tall order. My stepchildren are still incredulous that I actually made spinach cookies.

Hence, the CSA pears intrigued me. Pears are often poached in red wine, but why? And vanilla is often associated with them ... and almonds ...

Determined to avoid sugary, carmel-y sauces and butter and whatnot, I forged ahead and poached the pears in white wine with a bit of vanilla, and topped them with almonds and grated unsweetened chocolate. And I actually served these not only to my husband, but to my friend Holly, who had dinner with us tonight. She said they tasted like something you'd get in a fancy restaurant. But ... she IS a very nice person ...

To peel pears, it helps to have a serrated peeler. It works really well on thin-skinned fruits and vegetables.

I saved a couple of the whole pears because I am determined to come up with a dish that has pears AND onions in it.


Ripe pears
White wine
Unsweetened chocolate

Peel, halve and core pears. Arrange in a skillet with a quarter inch or so of white wine. Add a teaspoon or so of vanilla. Cover and poach until pears are almost soft (don't overcook). Remove lid and continue to simmer until liquid is almost gone. Turn the pears to coat them in the reduction, then place on dessert plates and top with a mixture of chopped almonds and grated chocolate. Make sure the pears are hot so the chocolate melts.

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