Monday, November 1, 2010

5 Ingredient Gourmet

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!


  1. GENIUS! I dont like blue cheese, but I imagine feta would be just as wonderful :) I have actually never cooked with a pear before, I usually just eat them raw. I have always wanted to have baked pears with some sort of delicious syrup or yogurt. YUM!

  2. I'm not the biggest pear fan (hearsay, I know), but I also wasn't the biggest brussels sprouts fan until I started roasting them. Thus, by process of deduction, I'm fairly certain that I would love this.

    Separately, I'm always deadly anxious about surprise company or Marcus forgetting to tell me we need to bring something to a party at the last minute. Men don't understand that once you've established for others that you CAN cook, you pretty much have to keep on going with that.

  3. Okay so I've never read your blog before and you just absolutely won me over with this recipe. I think I'd use goat cheese, or cashew cheeze instead of the blue, but overall I think this would be wonderful!

  4. I love the simplicity and presentation of this! As always, you rock!

  5. I just love dishes with short ingredient lists!!!!! LOVE.

  6. I love this because not only is it elegant and a wonderful melding of flavors...but it is also so simple! I'm all about 5 ingredient recipes during the craziness of the holiday season. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I love pears and bleu cheese in salads -- it is such a good combo! This looks delicious and I love easy recipes like this :)

  8. Whoa this sounds totally amazing! I'm going to have to try it. :d

  9. i love the simplicity of this dish..thank you for sharing.

  10. this looks so pretty, kylie! minus the bleu cheese. i just can't do blue cheese, sad i know...

  11. I've never roasted pears before, but this looks really interesting.

  12. Ooh, I bet my sister would like this with feta! I'd like it too, but she's a big pear fan. Yay for simple recipes! I really should look for that book at the library. :)