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