With the reemergence of some wonderful seasonal ingredients, autumn-inspired recipes have made a triumphant return in our house. An about-face is happening. Light and fresh summer recipes are being replaced with hearty, soul-quenching and satisfying meals. To ready us for the days ahead and the frequent temperature shifts synonymous with autumn. Late mornings and the brisk weather breeze.
Squash is one of my favourite fall ingredients, found locally at the market once the calendar switches to September. Roasted, the squash turns golden in colour and it enhances the natural sweetness. And ever since my first bowl of squash soup, it plays on regular rotation this time of year. But with small, simple changes. Like this.
Fall is a good bowl of soup to me. And I`ve been known to make my share of autumn soups, and this one matches up with any I`ve made and loved before. But instead of cooking the squash, roasting it adds a whole different flavour dimension and adds a bit of a smokey profile.
Fall means many things to me. Charcoal nights, foggy mornings. brisk days and cold nights, fallen leaves and soup. A well-balanced, flavour-rich soup. And that`s exactly what this is.
From my kitchen to yours,
Roasted Squash & Pear Soup
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 leeks, halved and washed, chopped
- 4 tbsp. sage, chopped
- 2 pears, cored, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp. chili pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
- Add the squash, pears, 2 tablespoons of sage, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large bowl and mix to combine. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and empty the bowl out into a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes.
- Using a saute pan, add one tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the bacon, cooking for five minutes or until slightly crispy. Remove from pan and place on a paper towels.
- Using the same pan, add the final tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the leeks and garlic, cooking for 3 minutes or until softened.
- Working in batches, transfer the leeks, onion and squash mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Pour into a large pot with the stock and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs and remaining sage in a small fry pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in the bacon and stir to combine. Set aside.
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with bacon & breadcrumb mixture. Finish with chili pepper flakes.
- Serves 6.