Red Wine-Poached Packham Pears


I adore poached pears for spring and summer desserts. You don’t have to turn the oven on, and they are so cool and crisp that they mimic the fresh, clean air around us this time of year. Plus, they can be made in advance and then simply adorned with vanilla ice cream. Just the kind of no-fuss offering we all need when we’d rather be playing outside than slaving in the kitchen. Packham pears are a great choice for this dessert because they are floral and firm enough to hold their shape during poaching.

4 cups red wine (I use an inexpensive, medium-dry wine)

1 ½ cups sugar

2 cups water

1 cup orange juice

Peels from 1 orange

2 cinnamon sticks

A small handful of thyme

6 firm but ripe Argentinian Packham Pears, peeled, cored, stems left intact

Combine everything, save for the pears in a large, heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer. Add pears, and bring everything back up to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes. Transfer pears to a plate or platter. Boil liquid in saucepan until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes for a luxurious sauce. Sometimes I also add a splash of balsamic vinegar to mine for an extra zing! Serve with vanilla ice cream.

About the Chef

Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.