Portuguese Christmas Dinner Food

Drunken Pear Risotto

December 21, 2020

Just in time for Christmas – this #homemadeMonday brings you the perfect Christmas dinner recipe, especially if you´re having just a small get-together, or even just having dinner alone or with a partner. This drunken pear risotto is a consequence of a dish I once ate at a restaurant but couldn´t find anywhere on the internet. Drunken pears (as the Portuguese call them) are pears poached in red wine and they make for a terrific dessert. But guess what – they make for an even more delicious risotto topping, and man, does it look fancy! The drunken pear recipe was taken from the Pingo Doce site and translated, while the risotto and the general combination is my invention. I labelled this dish as Portuguese simply because drunken pears are such a thing here, but keep in mind you will probably not find this in Portuguese restaurants – just at my house.

(serves five)

For the pears:

five pears (I used the Rocha variety but any will do)
400 ml red wine (only use the good wine that you would also drink if it was served to you!)
300 ml Port wine
150g sugar
one cinnamon stick
one anise
the peel from one lemon (or lime or orange)

For the risotto:

500g risotto rice
one onion
2 Knorr cubes for rice or veggies
200ml red (ruby) Port wine
150g butter
1.5 l of boiling water
olive oil


1. Start with the pears. Add the red wine, Port wine, sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon stick and anise to a pot while you are peeling the pears.

2. Place the pears standing up in the pot and bring to a simmer/boil. Leave them there for about 30 minutes, or until they soften, turning them around every now and then, so every part of them gets immerse into the wine.

3. Once boiled/softened take them out and place aside. Note: if you want to serve them in slices on top of the risotto, slice the pears and let them sit in the mixture for another 10 minutes, as the inside of the pear will not have taken over the colour completely. Also: the liquid remaining from getting the pears drunk is very similar to mulled wine, so feel free to drink it instead of throwing it away!

4. Now to the risotto. Chop the onion finely and add it to a bigger pot along with two tbsp of olive oil. Fry until slightly golden, then add the rice and fry for two minutes, mixing continuously.

5. Add the Port wine to the rice, stirring as it evaporates and the rice takes some of the colour. Note: if you feel like it needs more colour, add up to another dose of Port wine, the taste will be just slightly stronger.

6. Add enough of the boiling water to cover the rice, add the Knorr cubes and stirr as the water evaporates.

7. Keep doing the same thing with the remainder of the water, and as you add the last bit, add the butter to it as well, stirring to homogenise it.

8. Serve while still hot and creamy, with the drunken pear on top and a glass of red wine.

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