PHOTO: Tableau Bar Bistro; Chef Marc-André Choquette's Port Wine Poached Pears.
Laura Brehaut/Postmedia News
Originally published on December 16, 2013;
Ottawa Citizen: December 26, 2013; page D4
Calgary Herald: December 18, 2013; page D7
The Windsor Star: December 18, 2013; page C4
Ring in the New Year with a classic dessert showcasing seasonal flavours: ripe pear, fortified wine, cinnamon and star anise. Quebec-born Executive Chef Marc-André Choquette (a.k.a Chef MAC) specializes in French bistro-style cooking, which he showcases at his Vancouver restaurants, Tableau Bar Bistro and Homer St. Cafe and Bar.
The Homer St. Cafe and Bar is where French bistro meets rotisserie. The focal point of the restaurant, where Chef Tret Jordan plays a key role in developing and executing the menu, is most certainly the deep-red Rotisol Grande Flamme Olympia Rotisserie. Immediately upon entering, it is clear that the roasts are the star. Get a quarter, half or whole Fraser Valley chicken served with peewee potatoes and chicken jus, and a side of crispy chicken skin for good measure.
It’s not just birds though, with daily featured proteins and slow-roasted organic vegetables, such as harissa-marinated eggplant, on the rotisserie. The dishes are served family-style; go with a group so you can try the chicken and radicchio salad, lamb and potato pie with bone marrow, and Brussels sprouts “bagna càuda,” and have your roast and eat it, too.
For dessert, there are choice B.C. cheeses as well as chewy peanut butter cookies, skillet-baked cheesecake, and a comforting chocolate pudding with Maldon sea salt, cocoa nibs and honeycomb that was adapted from a recipe in Jordan’s mother’s recipe book.
In the spirit of sharing well-loved holiday traditions, this is Chef MAC’s favourite poached pear recipe, “With its beautiful presentation, touches of simple elegance, and emphasis on decadence.”
Recipe courtesy of Chef MAC, Executive Chef of Vancouver’s Tableau Bar Bistro and Homer St. Cafe and Bar.
6 whole Anjou pears
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ cups water
1 bottle (750 ml) port wine
½ cinnamon stick
1 pod star anise
1 whole lemon, quartered
1 bunch mint leaves (for garnish)
½ cup sliced almonds (for garnish)
¼ cup icing sugar (for garnish)
1. Peel and core pears; set aside in water with lemon or lime drops added to prevent browning.
2. Bring the sugar & water to a boil. Carefully pour in the port wine, and simmer for 10 minutes to make a syrup. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise & lemons. Then add the peeled & cored whole pears to the port sauce and simmer until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Once cooked, carefully remove the pears and set them aside in a bowl to cool. Continue to reduce the sauce over low heat until it becomes nice and thick, but still able to be drizzled. Be careful not to over-reduce or burn the sauce.
3. To serve, reheat the pears in a microwave until warm and place on serving plates. Drizzle the port sauce over the pears, ensuring the sauce covers the bottom of the plate. For that extra holiday touch, garnish with mint leaves and sliced almonds, and dust with icing sugar. Enjoy with your favourite ice cream.
serves 6
– The author was a guest of Tourism Vancouver and The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, neither of which reviewed or approved this article before publication.
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