Mulled Pears & Blue Cheese Salad. A hearty salad that perfectly accompanies a festive feast.
750ml (3 cups) red wine
1 cup brown sugar
3 star anise
2 whole cinnamon quills
3 pieces lemon peel
8 small firm pears, peeled
120g green salad leaf
100g blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, toasted
Ready-made vinaigrette dressing
Place wine, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel into a large saucepan, stirring over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Place pears into pot, adding extra water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover pears with a circle of baking paper to cover, and cook for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove pears from liquid. Increase heat to medium, reduce for 20 minutes or until reduced to quarter and looks a little syrupy.
Place salad leaves on platter. Top with halved pears, crumble over blue cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle with dressing.
TIP Serve any leftover pears with the syrup, and ice-cream or cream as a simple dessert. The pears can be made in advance, with syrup poured over them. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. The pears intensify in colour and deepen to a darker purple.