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Pears poached in red wine

Serves 8.

Ingredients:

1 bottle (750 ml) Red wine (Shiraz or Zinfandel are good)
475 ml water
200 g sugar
4 star anise
8 medium sized firm pears

Method:

In a large saucepan, with tight-fitting lid, heat the wine, water, sugar and star anise to the point of boiling, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar.

Prepare the pears by peeling and removing the hard piece at the base with a sharp knife or melon-baller.

Place the pears into the pan with the hot liquid and bring back to the point of boiling. Cover and simmer gently on a low heat for 12 – 15 minutes until the pears are tender, do not over-cook or the pears will lose their shape. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the star anise and discard. Bring the liquid back to boiling point and cook, uncovered on high, for 20 minutes to thicken the liquid and reduce to about 350 ml. When cool place the pears and the liquid in separate containers and cover. Place in the fridge and leave to chill for a few hours ( they can be left for up to 3 days).

To serve spoon the syrup over the pears.

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