With the holiday season approaching, it's time to put on our thinking caps and brainstorm those unique dishes and delightful desserts that are perfect for serving company.
Sometimes I struggle to select the perfect "company is coming" meal. While it's fun to share an elaborate, time-consuming dish with someone other than Adam (although he is a stellar tasting subject), I also hate to devote excessive amounts of time to cooking prep when I would much rather be visiting.
Today's recipe offers one solution to this "Company-is-Coming Conundrum."
Picture it: Pear halves roasted in apple cider, stuffed with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese crumbles. Serve this baby over a bed of chopped spinach, and you'll be ready to invite the Queen over for lunch.
This recipe may scream fancy when it's served by candlelight, but it also screams "Eat Me!" as a filling after-work snack (Trust me: I know from personal experience). It takes only 15 minutes to prep (unless you're speedier at cutting your pears), and 30 minutes to bake.
So tonight, it's 5-Ingredient Gourmet. Whether you're trying to impress your mother-in-law, or serving up a lunch for dear friends, this one's for you :)
Roasted Pears with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese
(a beautiful classic from Ina Garten's Back to Basics cookbook)
As noted above, this is a lovely dish for company, but it's also a light and simple lunch or dinner. We enjoyed ours for dinner with a side of roasted squash.
- 3 firm, ripe pears
- 3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- Optional: spinach, chopped and stemmed
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2) Slice the pears in half lengthwise. Remove the core of each pear, leaving a cavity for filling the pear with the stuffing. Trim a small slice off the bottom of each pear-half (so the pear will sit flat in the baking dish). Place the pears in a baking dish that holds them snugly, core side up.
3) Combine the blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a bowl. Fill the cavity of each pear half with the stuffing mixture. Pour the apple cider over the pears.
4) Bake pears for 25 - 30 minutes, or until tender. Baste the pears with apple cider halfway through the baking time.
5) To serve, place the pear halves over a bed of spinach, and pour the reserved apple cider from the baking dish over the pears and spinach. Call the Queen. It's dinnertime!