I have all three of Anna Thomas’s Vegetarian Epicure books and all have recipes that figure regularly in my cooking repertoire. The one I almost always keep on hand is Butternut Squash Pear Soup from her New Vegetarian Epicure*. Made a double batch last week and am thrilled to have a big supply in my freezer.
I’m a pretty big tweaker, but this is a recipe that really doesn’t need to change. I’ve served it to many people and it always garners comments like: “Nirvana”, “Best soup I’ve ever tasted”, “Amazing”.
I am a lazy cook and I avoid dairy so I have changed some of the process and made one substitution.
10 oz. diced butternut squash
1 large yam
2 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs. Butter
2 medium onions
3 large Anjou or Bartlett pears
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4-1/2 cup soy or coconut creamer
white pepper to taste.
optional garnish: chopped chives or sprigs of cilantro
If you don’t mind peeling, gutting and dicing, get a 1 lb squash and do all that. If you’re like me, get some already diced squash (Trader Joe’s has it) and use kitchen scale to weigh 10 oz. Peel and dice the yam. Put them both in a pot with the vegetable broth, water, cinnamon stick and salt and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.
Squash, yam, cinnamon
Peel and quarter the onions andthen put through the slicer blade on food processor. Melt the butter and gently cook the onions in it, stirring occasionally, until it begins to caramelize. Peel, core and thinly slice the pears and add them to the onions. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the wine, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Pears, onions, wine
Add the pear mixture to the soup, simmer a few more minutes, then discard the cinnamon stick. Puree everything in a blender in batches or use an immersion blender. Add thecreamer and some white pepper, and a bit more salt only if needed. Heat the soup again just to a simmer, but do not boil. Serve plain or garnished with chopped chives or sprigs of cilantro.
Squash pear soup
*The link takes you to Joseph Beth Booksellers, a locally owned independent bookstore. Love to help keep the independent bookstores alive.