Roasted Pears with Chardonnay Caramel Sauce

Serves 6. Recipe is from “Cast Iron Gourmet: 77 Amazing Recipes with Less Fuss and Fewer Dishes” by Megan Keno. Reprinted with permission from Page Street Publishing Co. Keno writes, “One of my favorite fruits all year long is the humble pear. It is beautiful and so versatile to cook or bake with. These roasted pears create much of their own syrupy sauce when roasting; you do only a little work to make this dish truly special. If you don’t have a chardonnay in mind, use apple cider instead, making this family friendly in the process.”

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

3 Bartlett pears, cut in half from stem to base, seeds removed

¼ cup chardonnay

⅓ cup apple cider

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

½ cup toasted chopped pecans

Pinch of salt

Heavy cream (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

2. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the cinnamon and ginger. Add the pears cut side down and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown. Gently turn them over onto the round outer side, and pour in the wine to briefly deglaze the pan. Place the skillet into the oven and roast the pears for about 10 minutes until they are soft.

3. Once the pears are done, gently remove them from the skillet, and put them on a plate. With the remaining juices in the pan, whisk in the apple cider and cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Start with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and add in the remainder if needed. Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stove, whisking constantly until thickened, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the toasted pecans and toss them in the sauce to combine. Add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness if it’s not to your liking. It will create an added dimension to the dish. Pour the sauce over the pears and serve immediately. Drizzle with heavy cream on top if desired.