Bosc pears are excellent for poaching. They're crisp and firm even when quite ripe.
Peel 4 Bosc pears, leaving stem intact. In a saucepan just large enough to hold pears on their sides, bring to a boil 4 cups water, 1 1/2 cups dry red wine, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 1 dried bay leaf, and peel of 1 lemon.
Add pears, and cover with a round piece of wax paper. Reduce heat to low; simmer gently until pears are crisp-tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool in poaching liquid, then chill pears at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.