Plenty of Pears

Pears are a love ’em or hate ’em fruit.  I love the grainy texture and the coarse skin.  I can eat them raw or cooked, in breakfast or dessert, poached or baked.  My husband cannot stand them raw, but we found out a few years ago that if the pears are cooked (especially in a dessert) he thinks they are delicious.  Cooked pears are the equivalent of apples, he says, and he thinks he could not tell the difference if you told him it was one over the other.

So when I saw this recipe (I think in Costco Connections, either the September or October issue), I was more than willing to give it a try.  Credit was given to Setton Farms in the publication, but I found it online here:

http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedrecipe.aspx?id=cc24364c-365d-4cb3-95c6-ef0f5541abc8

Baked Acorn Squash with Pistachios, Pears and Herbs

INGREDIENTS

2 acorn squash
2 t olive oil
1/4 t each sea salt and ground black pepper
1 cup shelled and diced pistachios
1 red D’Anjou pear, cored and diced
2 t each olive oil, maple syrup, and red wine vinegar
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 t each sea salt and ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400º F. Slice squash in half vertically and remove seeds. Place squash cut side up on rimmed baking sheet. Rub with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 30-35 minutes, or until soft.

While squash bakes, in a medium bowl, mix together nuts, pear, oil, maple syrup, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Divide filling among squash halves. Sprinkle with finely chopped shelled pistachios.

Preheat broiler. Place squash under broiler for about 3 minutes, until golden. Serve warm. Makes 4-6 servings.

This was a pretty easy recipe to put together, especially if you prep the pear and nut filling while the squash is roasting.  I used regular old Bartlett pears that were VERY ripe and juicy, but they still held their shape when I cut them up.  I still have fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden– I can’t believe how well it is holding up in the fridge!  By the way, I never chop fresh thyme.  The leaves are so small I find it a waste of time.  I just zip them off the stems and call it a day.  If you don’t have pure maple syrup you could substitute honey.  I omitted the mint because I didn’t have any.  These things happen, and one must adapt.

20151203_170925

My broiler and I do not get along.  I use the broiler. I set the timer. I check the progress. I sniff the air to check for burning (or flames– like that time I was broiling burgers and the foil caught fire.  No matter what precautions I take, I ALWAYS end up charring at least part of the food.  So you can see the edges of the squash are a little black, and I scooped out a couple of pistachios that burned up in the process.  Luckily, I caught it early so the dish was not ruined.  That char scraped right off.

Verdict:  Hooray!  This is a hearty main or a little side depending on the size of your squash (I had part of one half as a side with dinner one night, and the other half as a lunch entree at work later in the week).  I loved the bites of rosemary– sometimes it sneaks up on you while you are chewing (I love bitter flavors, but I know not everyone is a fan, so be forewarned) and you get that moment of  “Oh! What IS that!”  The pistachios were toasty and crunchy, and the pears and squash really paired well, texturally and flavor-wise.  I would definitely make this again, and may or may not try the “correct” pears and the mint.  I was pretty happy with how this one turned out.  Except for my broiler.  The jerk.

 

 

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