Fall is all around us. Seems like just yesterday I was talking about seeing the change of produce at the farmers market and getting excited to usher in fall flavors. Now Halloween is over, the clocks have been set back an hour and we are already working through the first week of November. What better time than now to celebrate the wonderful flavors of fall before we find ourselves in the midst of winter. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to go back and share a soup recipe I made for Dinner & Discussion Week 8.
It is a roasted butternut & pear soup that truly is all things fall. While it wasn’t my intention to try and cram as many fall flavors into this soup, it just kind of happened that way. But this is in no way a bad thing… it’s a very good thing.
The magical nature of this soup comes from not just roasting the squash but roasting the pears as well. Come to find out, roast pears are kind of awesome. The sugars come out and things get a bit gooey and caramelized. And you know what that means… flavor!
The base of the soup starts out pretty traditional with onions, apple, and sage. While you could roast these ingredients, I chose not to because I wanted the flavors to soften and mellow out in some butter. From there we build up with a combination of both broth and pure apple juice. You can use straight broth if you like but I like adding a bit of apple juice, or even better, apple cider, to add another layer of depth that pairs nicely with the accompanying spices.
The soup is finished with spices you would expect… cinnamon, ginger, a bit of cardamom and a few grates of nutmeg. Simmer it all together and taste. Adjust spices to your taste buds. Puree it smooth and enjoy the flavors of fall. Garnish is of course always optional but it can be a fun way to make things feel a bit more fancy.
Roasted Butternut & Pear Soup
Recipe by: Elisabeth Norris
- 3 lb butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
- 4 pears, cored and cut in half
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 apple, peeled, cored & diced
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 cup apple juice (or apple cider)
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp ginger
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg (or several grates of fresh nutmeg)
Fresh sage leaves
Preheat oven 425 and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
Place cut butternut squash and pears skin side down on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt. Flip the squash and pears to face down. Place in oven and bake 30 – 45 minutes. Till pears start to caramelize and a knife slides into the squash easily. Set aside and let cool.
Heat fat of choice in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced apple and onion and sauté for 5 minutes over medium low heat. Add in fresh sage leaves and continue to sauté another 3 minutes till apples and onions are soft and translucent.
Remove the skin from the cooled roasted squash and pears and add to the pot. Scrape the juices from the pan into the pot as well. Add the broth, juice, and spices. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer 20-30 minutes so flavors can meld together.
Remove pot from heat. Pull out sage leaves and then puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to pot to keep warm before serving. Taste and adjust spices as needed. If you find the soup to be too thick (due to a larger squash or additional pears), thin it out with a bit more broth or juice to desired thickness.
Makes: 6 – 1 cup servings