No stories this time around, just a recipe for a really good and really unique soup. While I was working on this, the soup had a little too much tanginess, so I grabbed the spices to give it a kick. The kick makes it very interesting and gives a great depth to the flavor. All around I was pretty pleased with this effort and the visual is pretty striking as well. Recipe was inspired by this site and this site, among others.
Cream of Squash, Shallot, & Pear – serves 4-6
- 1.25 lb Bartlett or Anjou pear, ripe, all but 1/2 pear peeled and cored, chopped
- 1.25 lb squash, butternut or delicata, seeds scooped out, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 shallots, sliced
- 1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp brown sugar plus more to sprinkle
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary
- pinch cayenne
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- maple syrup to taste
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- sprinkle of cinnamon
Rub squash and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in oven safe baking dish with 1/4 inch of water in bottom on 375 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until very tender. Let squash cool until tender enough to scoop insides into a bowl. Slice the remaining half of a pear very thinly and evenly so the “chips” cook evenly. Place on wax paper on a baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, bake on 350 for about 20 minutes, set aside and let cool.
Heat oil. Add shallots, pear, and leeks. Stir occassionally and cook for about 10 minutes, until pears are just browning a little. Add spices and flour, stir often for 2-3 minutes. Add squash, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and coconut milk, bring to a boil, add vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Puree with hand blender or in a blender in batches until totally smooth and a little creamy. Adjust flavors with salt, pepper, maple syrup, paprika, and cayenne as needed. Garnish with coconut milk and pear chips.