Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pinot Noir Poached Pears

All the limos had driven away, the chefs had packed their knives, the sparkling chatter had died down to quiet hum. The wine cellar that had just hours before been dolled up with beautiful decor and beautiful people once again looked like, well... a cellar. The Wine Gala was over. I was exhausted.

The remains of the huge party that had just consumed my every waking minute for days on end were many: gorgeous floral arrangements that needed homes, unclaimed goodie bags and auction items that had to be stowed for safe keeping, and wine. Bottle after bottle of top-notch wines that out of necessity had been opened, but in reality would never be consumed in their entirety. Since it pains me to watch good wine to go to waste, I took home several half-full bottles, knowing that I could put them to good use.

The wines I had chosen to bring home with me were one lone bottle of Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon that had just enough left in it for me to enjoy one more glass (which was the last thing I needed - but damn, it's just too good to turn down), and three bottles of Beringer Pinot Noir of varying amounts.

The first thing that came to mind: Pinot Noir Poached Pears. And that's just what I did. And once the pears were perfectly poached, I continued to reduce the liquid to make a Pinot Noir syrup to serve alongside.

To say that my house smelled divine as the wine simmered on top of my stove is an understatement. It was like ushering in Fall, with the heady aroma of mulled wine permeating the crisp Napa Valley air. It was a soothing way to spend my morning, since it required little effort on my part, but gave me all the benefits of an aromatherapy session at the spa.

As you can see, the results were amazing. Thanks, Wine Gala, for the leftovers. It made my day.

Pinot Noir Poached Pears
This recipe is written in quantities sufficient to not only poach the pears, but to make a syrup out of the remaining liquid as well (the syrup is not only delicious over the poached pears, but as a topping for ice cream or other sweet treats as well). If you don't want to make the syrup, cut the quantities in half for poaching only.
  • 6-8 pears, peeled (I used red pears, but Bosc or Bartlett pears would also be good choices)
  • 3 cups Pinot Noir
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Dash of allspice
  • Dash of freshly-grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients (except pears) in a deep sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, gently place the pears in the liquid (I drop them in with a slotted spoon). Once the liquid returns to a boil, reduce temperature until the liquid is at a simmer. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, turning pears occasionally. The finished pears will take on a gorgeous red color and can be easily pierced by a fork. Remove from poaching liquid and set aside. To make the syrup, let the poaching liquid continue to simmer until it has been reduced by half (or less - depending on how thick you'd like the syrup). Remove the cinnamon stick and serve the syrup over the poached pears.


  1. I'm definitely doing this; you've convinced me. So elegant, too!

  2. Yah, I've always wanted to try this. That looks great.

  3. I've done this twice and it's wonderful. After I poached the pears, I set them aside. Take the Pinot Noir reduction and pour it over a pork loin. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour. Afterwards, add the pears and roast for an additional 30 mins. Take it out of the oven, let the pork rest, and then slice and serve with the pears and drizzle the Pinot Noir reduction over everything! So good!

  4. Sounds great. I have a bottle of Pinot Noir that needs to be used and some large pears that want to be poached.