Sunday, October 28, 2018

Butternut Squash And Pear Soup.

I have the perfect soup for this weather -
butternut squash and pear.
Both are in season.
For the squash, I go no farther than my backyard.
I have volunteer butternuts from last year's seeds
I tossed out onto my beds.
And volunteers are the best.
Natural selection and all that.
The pears I chose were Bartletts.
Naturally selected from the produce aisle at Food Lion.

Here's how to make it:
Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
1 butternut squash, baked and meat scooped out
2 pears, cored, peeled, and chopped
2-3 TB unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock

Optional accoutrements:
toasted walnuts
crystallized ginger
chives and chive flower
chopped pear
crème fraîche

To bake the squash, slice in half, oil both halves,
and bake, cutside down, at 400°, until tender, about one hour.
Let cool.
Remove seeds and stringy stuff.
Scoop out flesh.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat until foamy.
Add in onion, carrot, and celery
and sauté 3-4 minutes, until soft.
Add in squash, stirring.
Slowly add in stock.
Heat to simmer.
Cook 10-15 minutes.
Add in chopped pears and heat through.
Purée with immersion blender.
 Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

You could use a regular blender to purée with,
just do it in batches so you won't be wiping off the ceiling.

To serve, ladle into bowls and try some of the optional toppings.
Toasted walnuts would be nice.
If you want a spicy zing, try some minced crystallized ginger.
Chopped scallions or chives add a nice touch also.
And for that extra pizzazz,
go with a crème fraîche design on top.

And what is crème fraîche, you ask?
Crème fraîche is sour cream's uptown cousin.
And you can easily make it.

 Créme Fraîche
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 TB buttermilk
1 tsp lemon juice
Combine all in a small bowl,
cover, and leave at room temperature overnight.
The next day, it will be nice and thick and ready to use.
Cover and refrigerate.

Now, for the step-by-steps:
Let the butter foam over medium heat.
Then add in the carrots and celery and onions.

Poke around for a while.

Add in the cooked butternut squash.

Pour in the vegetable stock and let it merrily simmer.

For a hint of sweetness, add in chopped pears.

Heat through.

Go marvel at a gulf fritillary butterfly on a purple zinnia.

Oh, where was I?
When the pears cook down a bit...

... and everything is nice and tender...

... have a go at it with an immersion blender.

Keep on keepin' on.

Until you have a nice, smooth purée.
Season to taste.

Ladle into bowls
and work your design magic with the crème fraîche.
I put the crème fraîche in a squirt bottle and started squirting.
Then I took a toothpick
and drew it through the soup to make designs.
Circle in the middle,
then concentric circles running outside.
Pull a toothpick through from center to outside at quarters
then from outside to center between the quarters.

 Oh wait!
What's that I hear???
Why it's Starbucks calling.
They want me as their new barista.
Sorry, Starbucks, but Rosie is busy.

Next I added in some toasted chopped walnuts
and chives from the garden.
With pretty chive flowers.

Maybe some chopped pears on top -
to hint at what's below.

Eat your heart out, Starbucks!


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