Red-wine poached pears are beautiful, sweet, tart and juicy. Poaching is a simple way to prepare and serve pears. Succulent pears are gently simmered in a fragrant bath of rich red wine, infused with a medley of fall spices. The result is a symphony of flavors that marries the natural sweetness of ripe pears with the deep, robust notes of red wine and the warmth of seasonal spices. Both Bosc and Anjou pears are good choices for cooking and baking, because they hold their shape well. Slice a 1/2 inch off the bottom to create a flat surface for the pear to stand for serving. Make sure to rotate the pears every 10 minutes while they’re simmering so the red wine soaks the pears evenly. You can store the pears in the poaching liquid in the refrigerator overnight but rotate the pears a few times. Once they’re chilled for a day, you can cut them in half and scoop out the seeds with a melon baller before serving. Serve the poached pears with the red wine sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
Combine the wine, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, spices and vanilla in a medium saucepan or a small Dutch oven and simmer over medium heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to simmer, about 5 minutes. Gently lay the pears down in the saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer slowly for about 25-30 minutes. Rotate the pears often so the wine sauce coats them evenly. The pears are done when they’re tender, can be pierced with a knife, but are still intact.
Transfer the pears to a plate and let them cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and bring the liquid to a boil. Let it reduce down until it’s thick and syrup-like, about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve or strainer and drizzle over the pears. Serve the poached pears with ice cream, fresh whipped cream or a coconut whipped cream, as a dairy free option. If serving the next day, cover and store the pears in the sauce overnight in the refrigerator.