The other day as I was driving to the market, I got to thinking about how most people adore summer time produce. While all those heirlooms and juicy berries are sexy, I think musky root veggies, hard squash and juicy pears and apples are just as appealing. I have definitely been taking advantage of all that winter has to offer, since coming back from the holidays.
I find that butternut squash is about one of the most versatile squash out there. I use them in everything from soups to baked goods; they can be sweet or savory. I love their rich color and firm texture. I was working on a few different butternut squash recipes the other day, and decided to take a snack break. I had a gorgeous Comice pear sitting on the counter next to me; I grabbed it and took a bite. It was one of the juiciest I have ever had. As I let the juice run down my lips and the gritty texture lingered on my tongue, I started thinking how it would be lovely mixed with the caramelized pieces of onion and butternut squash. Keep in mind this is a huge step for me as I never mix sweet and savory when cooking. I took rest of the pear, cut it into chunks and tossed it in. The natural sugars started caramelizing instantly, and the sweetness of the pear started to soften the pungent onions. After letting everything simmer with some rich vegetable stock, I pureed the mixture into a thick and rich, cream-free soup. It was luscious.
This vegetarian soup recipe is rich, you don’t need much more to make a complete meal. A little bread and a simple salad, and you have the perfect meatless meal.
What is your favorite soup recipe that combines sweet and savory?
Recipe: Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
- 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 pear, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- In a dutch oven, over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the onion and cook until soft; about 3 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash and pear, stir, and cook over low heat, until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
- Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add the garlic and the thyme, stir, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the stock, bring to a medium boil, stir and cover.
- Bring the heat down to a low simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Puree in batches in a food processor.
- Return to the dutch oven and gently reheat for 10 minutes.