Monday, December 26, 2016

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a cumulative song , meaning that each verse is built on top of the previous verses. There are twelve verses, each describing a gift given by "my true love" on one of the twelve days of Christmas. There are many variations in the lyrics. The lyrics given here are from Frederic Austin's 1909 publication that first established the current form of the carol. The first three verses run, in full, as follows:

On the First day of Christmas my true love sent to me
a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

On the Second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

On the Third day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Subsequent verses follow the same pattern, each adding one new gift and repeating all the earlier gifts, so that each verse is one line longer than its predecessor:4 Calling Birds. 5 Gold Rings, 6 Geese a -Laying, 7 Swans a-Swimming. 8 Maids a-Milking, 9 Ladies -a Dancing. 10 Lords a-Leaping, 11. Pipers Piping, 12. Drummers Drumming
Comice Pears

Cook's Notes: 
So this lyrical tune "12 Days of Christmas" danced in my head with a  recent gift of these gorgeous Comice Pears, from my dear neighbor, Nita. The presentation of these 6 foil wrapped pears all nestled in a box from Harry & David was a stunner. It was a difficult decision to even eat them.

After some sleuthing I found out Comice pears are known as the sweetest and juiciest of all of the European pear varieties. Because of the desirability and timing, Comice pears have earned the moniker “Christmas pear” ending up in fruit baskets with other flavors of the holiday season. They are the pinnacle variety of pears.

Sweet and soft-fleshed Comice pears are best eaten as a fresh fruit as they don’t hold up well for cooking. Comice pears go well with creamy Brie, Camembert or Blue cheeses on a cheese plate, or adding pear slices to enhance watercress or spinach salads. The delicate skin of a Comice pear can bruise or tear easily. To store, keep at room temperature. Refrigerate ripe fruit for only a day or two. 

On another pear note Cooking tip: When you need pears to hold their shape in a recipe choose firmer varieties like Bosc, Anjou, or Concorde. Softer varieties like Bartlett and Comice are better for snacking and smoothies. 

Pork Loin with Cinnamon Maple Roasted Pears with Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries
Cook notes: Bosc pears were used for the recipe. The sweet potatoes need a 10 minute lead time for cooking before adding pork, pears and cranberries. Recipe serves four.  
  • 4 boneless pork loin 
  • 1/4 tsp. each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1 TB. olive oil or Orange Olive Oil
  • 3 medium pears, divided 
  •  1 large sweet potato, peeled, sliced then halved and quartered
  • 1/2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon or 1 tsp. regular ground cinnamon  
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into chunks 
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 3 TB. pure maple syrup
  • 3 TB. peach or apricot preserves
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon or 1/8 tsp.  Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Optional garnish chopped pistachios
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl place sweet potato pieces, two pears peeled and diced, cinnamon and olive oil. Coat sweet potatoes and diced pears with cinnamon and olive oil. Place on one side of rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. 
  • Cut each pork loin in half so it will cook faster.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven and place meat on other side. Arrange onion chunks around meat. Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper and herbes de provence. 
  • Stir sweet potatoes and bake the meat, pears and sweet potatoes 20 minutes. Add in cranberries, turn meat over baking 10 minutes longer or until meat and sweet potatoes are done. 
  • While mixture is roasting make the pear sauce. In a saucepan melt butter, adding in maple syrup, preserves, cinnamon and one pear peeled and diced.  Cook covered, about 3 minutes or just until pears are tender, occasionally spooning sauce over diced pear. 
  • To serve pour pear sauce over cooked meat serving with a side of roasted pears and sweet potatoes.  Optional adding chopped pistachios as a garnish.

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