Poached Pears in Saffron Broth

Yes!  Another healthy yet yummy recipe I learned from Rebecca Katz, author of “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, during a class she taught last February at Draeger’s Marketplace in the SF Bay Area. Don’t let the title of her

cookbook or class fool you into thinking she cooks boring healthy “granola head” type food.   Rebecca finished her training from the highly acclaimed “Natural Gourmet Institute” in New York City, and then went on to get her M.S in Nutrition because she realized there was a definite vacuum in conduits teaching medical professionals that good health and great food, can in fact, be one in the same. She was chef staff at the Deepak Chopra Center down in San Diego, and teaches medical professionals and students all around the country.

Honestly, my only prior interaction with poached pears was watching a contestant on BRAVO’s TV show “Top Chef” be sent home for making it for a “Tailgate Party” during the Chicago season.  It was not an “appropriate tailgate dish” was the explanation.  But it’s HEALTHY and appropriate for almost all other occasions. It is fairly easy to make, delicious and a beautiful looking dish that is great when entertaining guests.   Thanks to Rebecca for introducing me to this!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pear nectar click here for store bought example
  • Zest of one lemon in long pieces
  • 4 inches of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1.4 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup
  • Generous Pinch of Saffron ( 12 to 15 threads
  • 2 ripe but firm pears (preferably Bosc or Comice, peeled, cut in half, seeded and stemmed

Directions:

  1. To make the broth, stir the pear nectar, lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron together in a large saucepan or 3 qt saute pan over medium-high heat; Bring to a boil.
  2. Place the pear halves in the saucepan, flat side down.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pears and cover with a small plate to weight the pears down as they simmer.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer until the pears are tender and a knife pierces them all the way through without resistance.
  5. Remove the pears from the saucepan.
  6. Return the liquid to the heat, bring to a lively simmer, and cook until syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  7. Taste the liquid for a quick Fat/Acid/Salt/Sweet check.  It may need a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavors.
  8. Serve the pears drizzled with the poaching liquid and topped with a dollop of nut cream or creme fraiche (just a little)

Variations:

  • For Vanilla broth – omit the lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron and instead stir 2 teaspoons of  organic agave nectar into the pear nectar.  Cut a vanilla pod in half lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the saucepan, then throw in the pod.  Proceed with the recipe as above.
  • For a star anise broth – omit the lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron, and instead stir in 4 pods of star anise, 4 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons of organic agave nectar, and 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Proceed with the recipe as above.

Notes:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Can be stored in an airtight container n the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days
  • Calories per serving:  225  Total Fat 0.2, Carbs 59 gms,  Protein 1 gm,: Fiber 4 gm Sodium 15 mg


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Indian Saffron Rice

I used brown basmati rice I get at Trader Joes. Brown rice is a lot healthier, and I personally think it tastes better than white rice anyways. I am head over heels for saffron as well, and use it in a lot of my cooking, not only Indian food. Saffron has many health benefits, including aiding digesting and being a natural anti inflammatory. I will be writing a blog post touting all the little known health benefits and history of saffron on here in the near future. This is a very simple recipe to use as a quick side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron ground or powdered
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon organic butter
  • 1 cup uncooked brown (or white) basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly
  2. Steep the saffron in 1/2 cup of hot water
  3. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in rice and salt. Add rice and stir until butter has coated all the rice
  4. Quickly pour in 1 1/2 cups of water , along with the 1/ cup of saffron water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, if using brown rice set timer for 40 minutes, if white, 20 minutes
  6. And end of cooking time fluff with fork and cover until ready to use

* See finished photo in my last post: Healthy Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Vindaloo Recipe

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