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3 Simple pear dishes

Roast chicken thighs are prepared with fresh sage,

Roast chicken thighs are prepared with fresh sage, sauteed pears and red onions. (Oct. 25, 2011) Credit: Marge Perry

TIP To test if a pear is ripe, press it at the neck near the stem with your thumb. If it yields slightly, it is ready to eat. Pears ripen at room temperature.

While we think of pears as a sweet fruit suitable for desserts and snacks, these recipes show off their flavors in savory dishes.

CHICKEN WITH SAUTEED PEARS

2 tablespoons lightly packed sage leaves, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

8 chicken thighs, about 2 pounds

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups diced red onion

2 pears, core removed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine sage and garlic. Lift skin from each thigh and pat some sage-garlic mixture on meat; replace skin. Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper; place on prepared pan and roast until a meat thermometer inserted into largest one registers 175 degrees, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion; cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until no longer opaque. Add pears in a single layer, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook without moving until lightly browned on undersides, about 4 minutes. Turn and repeat. Serve with the chicken. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 415 calories, 32 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 22 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 542 mg sodium

WILD RICE, PEAR AND CRANBERRY PILAF

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large pear, diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the almonds in a dry medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring until very lightly fragrant and golden. Transfer to a plate to cool. Add the cranberries and water; bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat and gently simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, 45 to 50 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet. Add the pear and cook until lightly golden and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

3. Combine cooked rice with the pears and almonds; toss with the remaining 1tablespoon of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 266 calories, 6 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 3 mg sodium

PEAR AND BRIE QUESADILLAS

2 medium pears, cut into thin wedges

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

6 ounces thinly sliced Brie, rind removed

4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

1. Combine pear slices, sugar and scallions.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Place a tortilla in the pan; place a layer with one-fourth of the cheese on half the tortilla. Top with one-fourth the pears and fold the tortilla closed. Repeat with a second tortilla in the pan; cook until light brown and crisp on the undersides, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat, cooking until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

3. To serve, let cool slightly (to prevent the cheese from running out) and cut each quesadilla into three wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 407 calories, 15 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 17 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 900 mg sodium

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