Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Pears and Toasted Pecans
Director of Culinary, ESS North America, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Warm winter spices give this soup a wonderful complexity.
Butternut Squash Soup:
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 Spanish onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup light cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 Bosc pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon medium curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
To make the soup, place the squash, carrots, and stock in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering over medium heat until nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and simmer until everything is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the light cream, then blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Once blended, strain the soup through a sieve to remove any lumps. Cover the soup and reserve over a very low flame to keep warm.
To make the curried pears, heat the butter in a pan over medium heat until it has almost browned. Add the pears and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon, curry powder, allspice, and cumin. Toss to coat, then sauté for another 2 minutes or until the pears are tender but not overly soft. Quickly remove the pears from the pan to avoid overcooking. Reserve until needed.
To make the toasted pecans, combine the pecans, salt, and pepper in a medium sauté pan and toss, evenly coating the nuts with the seasonings. Place the pan over low heat and allow the nuts to slowly roast, tossing frequently to avoid burning. Once the nuts reach an even golden color, about 7 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool.
To serve, pour the soup into serving bowls and top with the curried pears and toasted pecans.
4 to 6 servings