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Bay-Spiked Pears with Shallots and Lemon

The sweetness and silky texture of these aromatic pears makes them a superb foil to rich meats. Try them with roast partridge, venison or pork. Alternatively, make them part of a warm salad with some bitter leaves such as chicory, crumbled blue cheese and any juices from the pan trickled over.


6 large, medium-ripe pears 24 bay leaves

4 small (or 3 large) shallots, thinly sliced

Finely pared zest of 1 small lemon

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

A large knob of butter

A pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.

Peel the pears, then quarter them and remove the cores. Make a slit down the centre of the curved ‘back’ of each piece of pear and insert a bay leaf.

Place all the bay-spiked pears in a roasting tray. Scatter over the shallots and lemon zest, and trickle over the oil. Dot the butter around the pears and, if using, add a pinch of chilli

flakes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 20–30 minutes or until the pears are tender, turning them once or twice with a spatula. Serve warm.

Serving suggestions

Serves 6 as a side