Monday, August 8, 2011

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese, Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing

Oh thank you, thank you, Ina Garten for the inspiration for this recipe!  Yummmm!
Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese, Cranberry, and Walnut Stuffing

The filling for these roasted pears is a delightful balance of salty and sharp Stilton blue cheese, sweet dried cranberries, and toasty crunchy walnuts... tucked into a tender roasted pear.... basted and baked with a sweet & slightly tart port wine and apple cider vinaigrette.... over a bed of peppery arugula!  How could Ina be wrong in this one?! I just HAD to find out for myself.

Make the stuffing:

  • The players for the stuffing
    • 3 Pears - ripe but still firm
    • Fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • 3 ounces Stilton blue cheese
  • Rough chop the walnuts
  • Crumble the blue cheese
  • Loosely combine all three
Prepare the Pears:
  •  Peel the pears
  • Using a melon baller, scoop out the core.

  • Turn the pear over and cut a thin slice off of the rounded bottom so they will sit flat and straight in the dish.

  • Remember, the pears will oxidize and turn brown quickly, so dip all the cut and scooped surfaces into the fresh lemon juice to prevent this.



  • Fill the cavity of the pears with the stuffing.
  • Arrange in an oven-proof dish.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
  • Stir to combine:
    • 1/2 cup of apple cider
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp port wine
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the pears.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. (* see food notes below.)
  • Let them sit out a cool for a while.. can be still somewhat warm.
  • (Optional) Add the juices from the bottom of the casserole dish to a small saucepan and boil for a while to reduce and thicken the juices.  (* see food notes below.)
    • Let this cool.
  • Arrange the pears over a bed of arugula.
  • Dress the salad with the remaining reduced vinaigrette.
  • Add Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
 Written Method: 

Make the stuffing:
  • The players for the stuffing
    • 3 Pears - ripe but still firm
    • Fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • 3 ounces Stilton blue chees
  • Rough chop the walnuts
  • Crumble the blue cheese
  • Loosely combine all three
Prepare the Pears:
  •  Peel the pears

  • Using a melon baller, scoop out the core.
  • Turn the pear over and cut a thin slice off of the rounded bottom so they will sit flat and straight in the dish.
  • Remember, the pears will oxidize and turn brown quickly, so dip all the cut and scooped surfaces into the fresh lemon juice to prevent this.
  • Fill the cavity of the pears with the stuffing.
  • Arrange in an oven-proof dish.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
  • Stir to combine:
    • 1/2 cup of apple cider
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp port wine
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the pears.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. (* see food notes below.)
  • Let them sit out a cool for a while.. can be still somewhat warm.
  • (Optional) Add the juices from the bottom of the casserole dish to a small saucepan and boil for a while to reduce and thicken the juices.  (* see food notes below.)
    • Let this cool.
  • Arrange the pears over a bed of arugula.
  • Dress the salad with the remaining reduced vinaigrette.
  • Add Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Personal food notes:
After roasting, the pear become soft and tender, the cheese melts and starts getting just a bit bubbly, and the rest of the stuffing sinks into the pear cavity.  Honestly, I ate the arugula part because I felt like I "should," but what I really wanted to do was to just pick up the pear and eat it with my hand.

The cranberries were a little more brown than I think I would ideally like.  Maybe next time I will cover the dish in foil for the last 10 minutes or so.  Also, I think next time I will whisk in a couple tablespoons of  canola oil while reducing the sauce for a truer vinaigrette.  (just thinking out loud)

I know there are some of my friends/family who aren't big "pear" people; and I think this could also work nicely with apples.  I think maybe you may have to cook the apples for a while first, then add the stuffing and continue to cook.

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