Wild Rice, Grapes, and Blue Cheese Stuffed Port Poached Pears
Port Poached Pears
• 3 cups (750 ml) fruity red wine, such as Zinfandel or Barbera
• 1 cup (250 ml) ruby or LBV vintage port
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
• 5 whole cloves
• 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken
• 4 California bartlett or bosc pears, peeled, cored and quartered
Wild Rice Stuffing
• 2 cups (500 ml) water
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) California wild rice
• 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
• 2/3 cup (160 ml) quartered fresh California seedless grapes
• 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
• 2/3 cup (160 ml) walnut halves
• 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) crumbled, dried rosemary
• 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) cayenne pepper
• Salt to taste
Whipped Blue Cheese
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) crumbled blue cheese
• 1/4 cup (50 ml) cream cheese, at room temperature
1. Bring wine, port, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick to a boil in a large stainless steel saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add pears; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to coat all sides of pears, for 20 minutes or until pears are tender when pierced with a toothpick. Turn off heat and let pears stand for 10 minutes. Remove from liquid and chill. Remove cloves and cinnamon and continue to cook liquid for 20 to 30 minutes or until syrupy; set aside.
2. To prepare stuffing, bring water, rice and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 50 minutes or until tender. Drain off excess water and chill rice; stir in grapes.
3. To prepare walnuts, preheat oven to 325°F (162°C). Melt butter and toss with walnuts and seasonings. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Whip blue and cream cheeses together in a small bowl by hand or with a mixer until fluffy. To serve, scoop out a small part of the top of each pear. Place a small spoonful of cheese mixture into the cavity of each pear. Top with rice stuffing and walnuts, then drizzle with port glaze. Makes 8 appetizer servings.
For this and other California inspired recipes, visit www.californiagrown.org/canada.
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