On these cold winter's night there is nothing like a comforting warm bowl of soup. There is no shortage of soup recipes on this site, but sometimes you need a little something to serve along side it. The salad has a nice warming winter feel to it, despite being cold and fresh. The spices evoke memories of hot apple cider alongside the earthy beets.
5 Spice Poached Pear and Beet Saladadapted from LCBO Food and Drink
2 whole cardamom pods, crushed
1 whole star anise
1 whole nutmeg
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp salt
2 thin slices ginger root
2 wide strips lemon zest
1 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup honey
2 pears, peeled, halved and cored
2 small beets, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
2Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup toasted almonds
4-6 cups spinach
1 carrot, thinly sliced
Combine first 10 ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat. Add pears and poach 5-10mins until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add beets to hot mixture and poach 10-15min until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Strain the liquid mixture to remove all spices and solids and return to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 10min until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Transfer to a mason jar, add oil and salt to taste. Shake and reserve.
To serve, on 4 plates arrange a pile of spinach. Top each with 1/2 pear sliced thin and 1/4 of the beets and carrots. Drizzle dressing on top and sprinkle toasted almonds.