October 11, 2011

Butternut squash and pear soup

This is an excellent soup, I often heat some up for breakfast in the morning with a slice of toast. I make this soup as soon as butternut squash hits the markets. No blender, no problem. Just mash the contents with a potato masher in the roasting pan and add them in. It makes a chunky soup, but soup is soup. Since the main ingredients are roasted first then made into soup, this makes an excellent soup to make on the weekends, or if you have some free time at home. The prep is all in cutting the squash, but most of the time is spent idly.

Butternut squash and pear soup
Yield: 4-6 servings, 1 or 1 and 1/2 cups each.

1 butternut squash, chopped in half and seeds removed, leave the peel on.
3-4 pears, peeled and cut in halves, seeds removed
large handful fresh thyme, washed and left whole
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and left whole
olive oil as needed
coarse salt
1 red onion chopped fine
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth, or water
1/2 cup milk (soymilk or cream is fine too)
salt as needed


Preheat the oven to 400º F or 200º C. Wash and scrub the squash and pears. For cutting the butternut squash, leave them unpeeled. I like to lay the squash down and cut it in half along the shortest width, the middle of the squash. Then take each side, place them cut side down on a cutting board so they don't slip, and cut them in half; the top half into two halves, and the bottom into two halves exposing the seeds in the middle. Scoop out the seeds and save them. You can roast them (see note at end of post). For the pears, peel them, cut them in half and remove the seeds and stem.

  1. Wash the thyme and leave it whole.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and leave them whole. You can give them a quick smash if you want.
  3. Pour about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil in a roasting pan. Place the pear halves, butternut squash halves (the fleshy part should be touching the bottom of the pan), garlic cloves, and thyme in a roasting pan. Pour about 1-2 teaspoons of additional olive oil on top and sprinkle with coarse salt.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer roasting time will help the juices caramelize, the squash is done when golden brown on top and is easily pierced with a fork or knife. Let cool on countertop.
  5. When the squash is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. It should come off very easily. Remove the thyme from the stems. Leave everything in the pan.
  6. In a medium size soup stockpot, heat up about 1 tsp of olive oil. Add in the chopped red onions and cook until nice and golden. Add in wine and let reduce. Add the squash, thyme, pears, garlic and all the roasting juices.
  7. Add in vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. If you have an immersion blender, turn down the heat and gradually blend everything together. Alternatively, you can place half the contents in a blender (allow space in the cover for steam to escape, and repeat as necessary), and blend together. Returning the blended soup to the pot. Once it reaches a creamy silky consistency, stir in the milk or cream, and heat up.

Note: When the squash is done roasting, you can lay out the washed butternut squash seeds on a baking tray and roast them on low heat. I just add a tad bit of oil and a sprinkling of salt. They take about 20-25 minutes at 200º F.

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