Secret Ingredient: PEARS!

Last night I got together with Terry Arif, an Algonquin College culinary student. Terry is competing in a culinary competition next month and asked me for help creating his dish. The theme or secret ingredient for this test is “pears”. I personally enjoy eating fresh juicy pears. I have never cooked with them aside from the obvious poached pear.

I suggested to Terry that we try and think outside the box, as most culinary students will no doubt turn to the safe route and do the classic red wine poached pear. I also suggested we try and incorporate the pear into as many parts of the dish as possible using different techniques.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Maple, soy and Anjou glazed bone in pork loin chop
  • Topped with a bacon, Jack Daniels, Anjou and sage compote
  • Served with a side of Bosc pear chips

Terry and I were very satisfied with the outcome of the chop. The compote and glaze balanced the bold flavors of the rub we used and also showcased the pears. The rub included cumin, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, togorashi, coarse salt, black pepper and brown sugar. I might be missing some spices here as I don’t have the recipe with me @ this time. Side note, this was the first time I actually took the time to write down the recipe since Terry has to submit it for his competition.

Terry calls me a “Free Style Chef”!!! LOL

The chips on the other hand need more work. The Bosc pear was by far the best choice for this application. This pear has a very dense flesh that stands up well against the heat of the oil; also it isn’t as sweet as the Anjou pear so it makes for a better chip in my opinion. This was my first time making chips with pears; the texture was a bit on the leathery side. Maybe we need to cook them with less heat or even bake them. I have seen recipes that call for salting the veggie or fruit chip before frying. This would remove excess moisture, now that I think of it this might make them more leathery. We need to experiment more with the chips!

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