Thanksgiving Recipe: From Emeril, Poached Pears with Port Syrup & Blue Cheese

by Melody Kettle

 Throwback photo from Emeril's Table, circa 2011

Throwback photo from Emeril's Table, circa 2011

A few years ago, back in 2011, I was a guest on Emeril's Table.  I must be getting old, because I forgot all about this great recipe for poached pears with port syrup and blue cheese.  Just saying it makes me swoon, and  I'm sure your Thanksgiving guests will too.  

Here's the recipe:  

Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

5 cups ruby Port

¼ cup sugar

12 whole peppercorns

6 whole cloves

1 long vanilla bean, split

3 ripe Bosc pears

½ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ pound crumbled salty blue cheese, such as Roquefort

Pistachios, shelled, for garnish

Mint leaves, for garnish

Add the Port, sugar, peppercorns, cloves, and vanilla bean to a 2-quart pot set over medium high heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Peel, halve, and core the pears, leaving the  stem intact if possible. Add the pear halves to the port.  Cut out a  piece of parchment paper the diameter of the pot and set on top of the  pears.  Add a small heatproof saucer or bowl on top of the paper to  weight it down and help keep pears submerged. 

Reduce the heat to low and simmer the pears  for 8 to 10 minutes.  A knife should penetrate the pears with little  resistance.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the pears to cool in  the poaching liquid.  You may store them in this liquid at room  temperature until ready to serve or they can be refrigerated in their  liquid for up to one week.

Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and  set aside.  You should have about 3 cups of poaching liquid.  Strain  the liquid into a clean 2-quart pot.  Scrape the vanilla beans into the  pot and discard the pods with the other aromatics.  Bring the liquid to a  boil over high heat, reduce to medium, and cook until bubbles are  bursting over the entire surface and the liquid is reduced by about 2/3  (between ¾ to 1 cup), about 20 minutes.  (The liquid should be thick  enough to nap the back of a spoon.) Remove from the heat and transfer to  a small container.

Whip the cream with a whisk until stiff peaks form.

Serve the pears with the Port syrup drizzled  over, garnished with the crumbled blue cheese, a dollop of whipped  cream, pistachios, and a mint leaf.

Yield: 6 servings