Pear Bureau Northwest
with headquarters in Cleveland. He works
at the group’s Top of the Hub in Boston.
For his version of the common Italian
condiment, Porcaro simply cooks pears with
mustard seeds, Colman’s dried mustard,
sugar and honey for an hour, then cools it. It
goes especially well with Manchego cheese
for an overall flavor of combined bitterness,
saltiness and sweetness.
When pears become too ripe, Porcaro
suggests making pear butter by cooking
them down with sugar and pectin to serve
on toast, like apple butter.
FRONT AND CENTER
In savory applications, pears don’t have to
be limited to condiments and appetizers
or tied to cheese. They can be the perfect
ingredient to round out a main dish or
stand out on their own.
Poached pears stuffed with
mascarpone and bacon and grilled
to melt the filling makes an appetizer
created by Geoff Kelty, executive chef
at Eddie Merlot’s, Columbus, Ohio.
He developed one of his favorite pear
recipes, Braised Bartlett Pear and Chicken
Pastilla, for Pear Bureau Northwest,
Milwaukie, Ore., and occasionally serves
it for private functions at his restaurant.
The savory pie, native to Morocco, usually
contains shredded chicken, ground almonds
and spices encased in phyllo dough and
baked, then sprinkled with sugar and
cinnamon. While Moroccans sometimes use
apples, Porcaro added pears. “They bring
out the flavor with chicken,” he says.
The Braised Lamb Shank with Caramelized
Pear and Shallots dish served at the
Mediterranean restaurant Lauro Kitchen
in Portland, Ore., was a group effort, says
Jennifer Buehler, chef de cuisine. The
ingredient combination is common in
Arabic cuisine, and the dish is a tip of the
hat to that part of the globe, she adds.
Some of the lamb shank braising liquid and
sauce ingredients include grated ginger,
saffron, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne
pepper, bay leaves, almonds, chicken stock
and dried cranberries.
For service, couscous is mounded on a platter
with the lamb shanks placed on top. The
dish is garnished with pears that have been
caramelized with shallots, all topped with
parsley and served with plain yogurt on the
side. “The pear really adds the pop that makes
that dish sweet and savory,” Buehler says.
She likens the flavor profile of cooked pears
to honey—especially Bosc pears, which she
believes hold up to heat the best. “The pear
has such a unique flavor profile. It’s not as
tart as apples. They have a more-sweet,
honey-like flavor,” she says. “That’s one thing
that makes them so versatile to cook with.”
Buehler thinks it’s fun to find ways to
include pears in dishes, and encourages
other chefs to research the different
varieties. “Go to a farmers market and pick
up a few different kinds, and play around
and see what you like best.”
Jody Shee is a freelance writer and former
magazine editor based in Olathe, Kan. She
specializes in foodservice, with 20 years of
They combine well with pork, Porcaro says,
and he especially likes Red Bartlett pears
for their heartiness and juiciness when ripe.
They don’t need a complicated preparation.
In one application, he simply peels the pear,
roasts it and serves it with cinnamon and
sugar alongside pork chops. The mildness
of pears doesn’t overpower the dish,
pears contain no acid, and it’s something
different and good for you, he says.
Pear Bureau Northwest
Braised Lamb Shank with Caramelized Pear
and Shallots combines ingredients common
in Arabic cuisine. The dish was created at
Mediterranean restaurant Lauro Kitchen.