Pomegranate Poached Pears with Parmigiano-Reggiano

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Autumn is the optimal time of year to make this dish, when pears are tree-ripened but still firm to the touch. A mushy pear won’t stand up as proudly to the heat of the pomegranate poaching liquid.


  • 1 lemon
  • 6 medium pears, firm with stems attached
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 46 sprigs fresh mint
  • About 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, in chunks


  1. Cut the lemon peel away from the lemon, removing only the yellow skin and leaving behind the bitter white pith. Juice the remaining lemon.
  2. Peel the pears (leaving stems attached) and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl to prevent from discoloring.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the water, pomegranate juice, red wine and honey. Bring to a boil and mix together. Reduce to a simmer.
  4. Add the lemon peel to the juice mixture, and half the mint leaves.
  5. Add the peeled pears to the pomegranate mixture and continue to simmer for 15-30 minutes, until a toothpick is easily inserted and the flesh is tender. Turn the pears occasionally.
  6. Transfer the pears from the poaching liquid to a fresh bowl or plate.
  7. Continue simmering the pomegranate liquid for 15-20 minutes, until it reduces enough to lightly coat a spoon with sticky syrup (do not reduce to candy, like I did the first time!).
  8. To serve, add a pear to each bowl and spoon pomegranate syrup over the pear. Garnish with mint leaves and Parmigiano-Reggiano nuggets over and around the pear.