The day before Psssover,15 years ago, I had some leftover pears poached in red wine. On a whim I chopped them with the usual tart green apples and toasted walnuts for my Passover charoses and used the poaching liquid for the charoses instead of buying a bottle of Manischewitz, using 1/4 cup, and pouring the rest down the sink. The rest is history. If there's one thing our kids will want to eat at Passover long after I'm too gaga to cook, it will be the pear-red wine charoses. —BiCoastalCook
Pears poached in red wine
Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, halved, and cored
Put the halved pears in a non-reactive pot large enough to hold them in a single layer and scatter the sugar over them.
Tuck the orange peel and the cinnamon stick among the pears and pour the wine over them.
Bring the pears and wine to a simmer. Cover the pot and poach for 30 minutes. Turn the pears gently with a slotted spoon, cover with lid ajar, and poach for 30 minutes more.
Remove pears with slotted spoon, and remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil abd reduce by one third to one half, watching to be sure it doesn't burn. You'll need at least a cup for the charoses and it's so good you'll want more for pouring over vanilla ice cream later in the week.
Pour the syrup over the pears and let them chill overnight before continuing, or use them right now in Part Two if you're in a hurry. The longer they sit, the better they get, but they're pretty good right now.
Charoses with pears in red wine
Peel, core, and roughly chop the apples. Chop the pears into similarly sized pieces.
Combine apples, pears, and walnuts in a large bowl and add half a cup of poaching liquid. If you prefer a looser mix, add more liquid.
Here's where your own preferences come in. If you like a spreadable charoses, dump the contents of the bowl into your food processor and pulse until the charoses is the desired consistency, adding poaching liquid as needed (this is what I do). If you like it roughly chopped, skip this step. Just don't puree it - you want some texture.
Cover the bowl of charoses and chill until it's Seder time. You're the cook, though - who said you couldn't have some right now?