Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An unlikely but delightful pairing - butternut squash and pears

In the "wonders never cease" category, I made another dish from scratch tonight.

I found the recipe for Butternut Squash and Pear Soup in a (literally) 9 year old cookbook. In 1999 I was in London and went on a mission to find the little travel bookshop made famous in the movie Notting Hill with Hugh Grant. It really does exist, although Hugh wasn't there. On the same street (probably next door, although I don't remember) was the shop "Books for Cooks" and I browsed some titles. You may find this interesting, given my aversion to cooking, but I actually have a fair number of cookbooks. I bought a few from that bookstore as a matter of fact (one, because of the stunning photo on the cover...).

The one I used tonight was the One Year at Books for Cooks, Vol. 3. Apparently this recipe came from the book Anna's Kitchen.

1.5 pounds of squash (peeled, seeded, chopped)
3 ripe pears
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 T butter
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
2 T chopped coriander to garnish
4 T creme fraiche to garnish

The method:
Melt the butter and stew the onions with a pinch of salt until soft. Peel, halve and core the pears, and add them in with the chopped up squash. Cover and cook slowly until all are soft. Pour in the boiling stock, bring to a boil again and then simmer for 20 minutes. Liquidise and push through a sieve into the rinsed out pan. Reheat, adjust the seasoning and serve in warm bowls with a spoonful of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of coriander.

First, what I changed from the above:
Wegmans sells pre-cut and prepped, vacuum sealed butternut squash
1 large onion, not 2 (it didn't call for large or small)
Instead of coriander and creme fraiche I used cinnamon and a dollop of yoghurt. I did BUY coriander so maybe tomorrow when I have it again I'll use it.

Nota bene - the squash was rock hard when I opened the seal, but, I turned the heat below medium, added a half cup of the boiling stock to help it soften more, and let it simmer for a good 20-30 minutes and it was all soft and mushy then.

I DID strain a helping with a sieve directly into my bowl, mostly to taste it, but then I added in the leftover mush that was still in the sieve and stirred. It was pretty creamy. I won't bother to separate it out the next time for eating. It is easier to taste the pears when you leave in the "mush".

The cinnamon and yoghurt were a great touch. I'm sure the coriander would be fine too.

I can't quite decide if the chicken stock overpowered the taste or not. It wasn't "all chicken-y" but I'm thinking the next time I may even use 3 cups chicken stock to a full cup of water.

This is supposed to make 4 servings but I'd say more like 6.


The photo here has nothing to do with the meal, but, it is a "fall" kind of photo and the soup is definitely a fall kind of soup.

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