4 Bosc or Bartlett pears
1 bottle (750-ml) hearty red wine, such as Zinfandel
1 cinnamon stick
Peel of 1/2 orange
Peel of 1/2 lemon
2 bay leaves
5 cardamom pods
3/4 cup sugar
4 drops red food coloring (optional)
Garnish: 4 bay leaves
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel pears. Place pears in a medium saucepan, trimming bottoms if necessary to help pears stand up on their own.
2. Add the wine, cinnamon stick, orange peel, lemon peel, bay leaves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, sugar, and food coloring, if using. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, and simmer until pears are tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on ripeness.
4. Remove pears from saucepan and set aside to cool. Bring cooking liquid to a boil, and cook until thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Garnish each pear with a fresh bay leaf and serve with sauce.
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