Red Wine Secret (Stewed Pears)

“I’ve got the key
I’ve got the secret
I’ve got the key
Yeah”*

I have a sneaking suspicion not many people have this issue, but something has been plaguing me. For the past couple of years I’ve tried to figure out how to get my stewed pears an appealing shade of red. My stewed pears tend to end up an off-putting brownish purple. Even though they usually taste fine, the experience just isn’t the same when you have to close your eyes to dare take a bite. (Also, sticking a fork in your upper lip for lack of looking at it hurts. Not that that ever happened to me.)

But no more khaki pears for me, because I’ve got the key (I’ve got the secret, ahahaaahahaaha). And, as these things go, it has been staring me in the face this entire time. I tried adding cranberry juice for color. I tried adding blackberry juice. But somehow, I never looked at someone’s wine stained lips and thought “hey, wouldn’t it be neat if my pears were that shade?”. Stupidly, because that is exactly the way to get them a gorgeous crimson: adding red wine. Thanks to my man’s mom, I now know. Yet again, emptying a bottle of burgundy has proven to be the answer.

Be sure to use stewing pears for this recipe and not regular pears: they would turn into mush if you cooked them this long. And mush is not attractive, not even wine-soaked mush.

*The Key the Secret, Urban Cookie Collective

Stewed pears

2 or 3 pears per person
Red wine (amount depending on how many pears you’re cooking; aim for a cooking liquid that is about 1/3 wine and 2/3 water)
1 cinnamon stick per 10 pears or so
100 gr of sugar per 10 pears or so

Peel pears and remove the star shaped brown “crown” at the bottom with the tip of a sharp knife, but leave the stalks attached. Place peeled pears in a saucepan with enough of a water/wine mixture to cover them. Add sugar and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Lower heat as much as possible (you want a slight simmer, not a full-on boil) and stew pears for about an hour, or until tender. The pears can be stewed for much longer; they will become softer and more intensely red as time goes by. (My man’s mom stews them for at least six hours.)

Serve warm or cold, with a wintery main course, as a starter with some crumbled blue cheese and walnuts, as dessert with ice cream… The options are endless.

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1 Comment

Filed under Dutchisms

One response to “Red Wine Secret (Stewed Pears)

  1. Manon

    I could have told you the trick, too. Best is to use sweet red wine (Madeira or port). It also works if you put in the wine only the last half hour or so. Mmm, nice to thicken the sauce a little after you took the pears out. Makes it flow better with melting vanilla icecream.

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