Port Poached Pears

Port Poached Pears on a baking sheet.
This recipe can be found in our Community Table Cookbook and is a recipe created by Chef Paul Buchanan.
6 cupsport wine
2½ cups organic cane sugar
2large oranges, zest and juice
2 TBSchopped fresh ginger
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
8medium-firm, ripe pears, peeled and cored
3/4 tspcornstarch
¼ cupfresh orange juice

In a large, wide, non-reactive saucepan, combine the port, sugar, zest, and juice of the oranges, ginger, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the pears and return to the simmer. Gently simmer until the pears are cooked through and tender, testing the pears with a toothpick. The cooking time will vary greatly depending on the type and size of pear used. When tender, remove from the heat. Strain 1 cup of the poaching liquid into a small saucepan. Leave the pears in their liquid while making the sauce.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and add to the small saucepan containing the cup of poaching liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes until lightly thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Serve the pears sliced and fanned in shallow bowls or on the plates. Spoon some of the sauce over and around the slices. Garnish with 2 or 3 oranges segments, mint sprigs, and whipped cream or ice cream.

Note: These pears can be poached several days ahead of time and be kept in the poaching liquid. These pears are very versatile and can be used for salad, for duck or chicken entrées, or as we used here, for dessert.