Aromatic pears

SERVES 4 V D P C
4 ripe but firm pears, about 5 oz/140 g each
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey, or to taste
1 fresh red jalapeño chile, cut in half and seeded
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick, bruised
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
½-inch/1-cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 whole cloves
4 fresh bay leaves
1¼ cups water
Method
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the pears as thinly as possible and leave the stalk intact. If necessary, cut off a thin slice from the base of each pear so it will stand upright. Place in a large bowl and pour over the lemon juice with enough water to cover the pears.
2. Pour the honey into a large saucepan with a lid. Add the chile, star anise, cinnamon stick, lemongrass, ginger, cloves, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the,honey has dissolved.
3. Drain the pears and place in the pan. Bring almost to boiling point, then reduce,the heat to a gentle simmer and cover with the lid.
4. Cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Remove the pan from the,heat and let the pears cool in the syrup. When cool, remove them from the pan,with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish.
5. Return the syrup to the heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5–8 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced by half and thickened. Let cool for 5–10 minutes, then pour over the pears and serve.

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