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Stir It Up: Winter Roasted Pears

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Winter Roasted Pears

3 ripe but firm Anjou pears

3 lemons, just the squeezed juice

3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese

1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped or walnuts

1/2 cup apple cider

3 tablespoons port

1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 ounces baby arugula or spinach

Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise. With a melon baller or small knife, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Place them, core side up, in a baking dish. The pears should fit snugly. Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried berries, and nuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation. In a small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. If the pears are very ripe, it may only take 20 minutes. The pears are done when soft and heated through. Serve pears warm or at room temperature. Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the greens among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

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