Monday, 1 December 2014

Spiced Squash & Pear Soup

You will need a medium-small squash for this; about 2 1/2 pounds, or a very generous kilo. Roast it in the usual way; cut it in half and deseed it; rub the cut edges with a little oil, and roast at 375°F for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half. As usual, I tend to do this the day before; serving roast squash, and just making extra. Or at least, if I have the oven on for another purpose, it's always a good idea to fling something more in there at the same time if I can.  At any rate, first roast your squash.

4 to 6 servings
45 minutes prep time, not including roasting the squash

Spiced Squash & Pear Soup

Make the Spice Mixture:
2 pods green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Crush the cardamom lightly, to allow you to remove the papery green husks. Grind the seeds with the cumin, coriander, fennel and pepper. Mix in the ginger and salt, and set aside. NOTE: if you are using salted stock and butter, omit the salt and adjust the salt once the soup is made.

Make the Soup:
3 cups squash purée
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
3 medium Bosc pears
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sherry

Put the squash and 1 cup of the chicken stock in a soup pot, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, peel, core, and slice the pears into thin slices. Heat the butter in a large skillet, and cook the pears until lightly browned on each side. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the pears, and mix it in well; cook for another minute or two until the spices are very fragrant. Transfer the spiced pears to the soup pot. Use a second cup of chicken stock to deglaze the pan, and add it to the soup.

Simmer the soup for 15 minutes or so, until the pears are completely soft. Purée the soup until fairly smooth in texture. Return it to the soup pot, and use the last cup of chicken stock to swish out the food processor. Add it too, to the soup, along with the sherry. Heat the soup through and serve.

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