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Spicy Mulled Pears*

Serves 6

3-1/2 C water
2 C red wine
1 large strip lemon rind
1 large strip orange rind
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice
1/3 C sugar
6 pears with stems, peeled

Bring all ingredients except pears to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Add pears, making sure all are covered with poaching liquid. Simmer for 60 to 75 minutes, or until pears are cooked through. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl. Strain the syrup into a small pot. Reduce over high heat to 2-1/2 C. Pour reduced syrup over pears; cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Serve 1 pear per person, with syrup. Garnish with a bay leaf or fresh rosemary sprig.

Serve as a dessert or, halved, with duck.

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