1 bottle red wine ( French or American Merlot)
6 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
peel of 1 orange
2 sticks cinnamon
2 stars anise*
6 slightly under- ripe Bosc pears
2 lemons, cut in half
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger, for garnish (optional)
1. Mix the ingredients of the Poaching Mixture in a large, non-aluminum pot. Bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
2. Peel the pears, leaving the stem on. Rub the surface with the cut lemons to prevent them from turning brown. Lower the pears into the poaching liquid and squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered until pears are tender, about 40 to minutes. Test by piercing the pears with a knife. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a bowl.
3. Strain out the seasonings (orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and star anise) and discard. Pour 3 cups of the cooking liquid into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced. Pour the syrup over the pears. Serve warm or chilled for at least 3 hours with a little syrup. Sprinkle the top with the candied ginger. The pears can be poached 1 day ahead and refrigerated.