Winter Solstice with a Kitchen Witch: Spiced Pears Poached in Red Wine

As the hearth heats up for the coming Winter Solstice, kitchen witches everywhere get ready to boil their cauldrons for ritual, gatherings and family meals.

Rich, decadent, sophisticated & colorful, this magickal recipe blends classic Yule spell ingredients, including fresh orange zest, red wine, perfect pears and star anise.

winter solstice with a kitchen witch

Oh, I’m really excited to share this one with you!  I made this for the first time a few days ago, and frankly, it turned out way better than I expected it to.

If you want to serve something magical, delicious and super chic this Yule, this dish adorns the table with a touch of class.

As with all my kitchen witch recipes, I like to share with you the magical properties of each key ingredient, and suggest a few ways to infuse your efforts in the kitchen with the magic and whimsy of cauldron spellcraft.

But feel free to scroll to the end if you just want the recipe.  🙂

We begin with the humble-yet-mighty winter pear.

pear

While you may not regard the pear with any particular passion, this fabled fruit shares a sacredness with the Greek goddesses Aphrodite & Hera, as well as Pomona, the Italian goddess of gardens & harvest.   (Source: Deaf Pagan Crossroads.)

In addition, because the pear tree enjoys a lengthy lifespan, the ancient Chinese regarded the pear as a manifestation of immortality.  (Source:  Myth Encyclopaedia.)

Its association with marital satisfaction, long life, pleasure, family & romance enchant the pear with characteristics that make it an especially appropriate addition to a holiday meal shared with family and friends.

In this recipe, we combine this with the attributes of a few customary yule spices.

orange peel and star anise

We include the orange rind in this spell to warm the hearts of those gathered around the table, as well as to inspire fond memories and lively conversation.  (I encourage you to explore the many ways to use oranges in witchcraft.)

Adding star anise to our brew, we clear the air of any lingering family grudges, inspire forgiveness, and symbolize the unbroken hope of the North Star during the winter months.

Finally, we choose a decadent, beautiful wine for our sauce base.  I recommend never cooking with wine you wouldn’t drink!

In this case, I chose this bottle of Cashmere Black Magic (available here) for its warm, spicy notes of plum and black pepper.

Also, it has the words Black Magic in the name😉

For more information on the role of wine in ritual, check out this link.

Okay, okay!  Now on to the recipe.

You Will Need:
*2 cups red wine
*1/4 cup sugar
*3 pieces star anise
*2 whole cinnamon sticks
*2-3 generous strips of orange peel|
*1/2 cup orange juice
*4 (just barely) ripe pears

1.  In a saucepan large enough to accommodate all your pears, combine the first 6 ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-6 minutes.

2.  While your other ingredients are on the stove, peel the pears, leaving the stems intact.  Slice the bottom off each pear to create a flat bottom.

3.  Place the pears in your brew on the stove, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Be sure to turn the pears occasionally throughout to ensure even color and coating.

4.  Remove from heat and set to cool uncovered.

5.  Once cool, place the entire saucepan in the refrigerator for several hours, turning occasional to avoid blotchy color.  For softer pears or pears that were less ripe, allow them to marinate for up to 24 hours.

6.  Gently remove pears and place the remaining liquid back on the stove.  Bring to boil and reduce liquid until it thickens to the consistency of a light syrup.

7.  Drizzle syrup on plate.  If you want to get fancy, put some in a pointy tip squeeze bottle and draw magical symbols on the plates.

8.  Plate pears, drizzle remaining sauce, and serve.  Delicious!

magical poached pears

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