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Thanksgiving Day Sides: Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Warm-up your Thanksgiving meal with flavors of the season in this delicious side dish.

I try to keep an eye out for interesting recipes, but even more so now as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday. Over the past few years I’ve tried bringing one "surprise" dish to the table.

Sometimes this works out geat - other times, not so much. But this year I think I’ve found it, and all due to an impromptu experiment with roasting pears. Here is the benefit of said experiment, the piece de resistance: Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup. 

If you've never tried your hand at a squash soup, but always wanted to make one, this is the recipe for you. Easy, tasty and satisfying are just the beginning of the story. The flavors of cinnamon-spiced butternut squash and candied pear are the perfect compliment to one another, and definitely join forces to bring the flavor and aromas of the season to the table.

Butternut squash can have a bitter taste if not cooked enough, or properly. By roasting the squash and pear together with just the right blend of spices, all of the delicious caramelization is coaxed out to add a subtle, natural, almost nutty sweetness.

This dish has minimal prep time, so instead of slaving for hours over the hot stove your time is spent savoring the delicate flavors. And let’s face it, any time we can get a complete meal with great flavors to the table with less work and less time, we’ve found a winning recipe. I hope this dish makes an appearance at your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Enjoy!

 Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1”X1” pieces
½ medium onion, diced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
2 pears, chopped into 1”X1” pieces
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cream
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp paprika
pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper
non-stick cooking spray*
¼ cup chopped parsley (for garnish)
¼ cup glazed walnuts (for garnish)
(serves 6)

To Prepare:

Place cut squash and pear pieces in a large baking pan. In a small bowl, use a fork or whisk to mix together sugar, cinnamon and paprika, then sprinkle over squash and pear. Spray with olive oil cooking spray*, (or drizzle with a small amount of olive oil).

Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Then remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.

While squash and pear are roasting, saute onions and garlic in oil and butter on medium heat for five minutes. Add chicken broth and raise to a boil for five minutes. Reduce heat to let simmer, reducing by half. Stir in cream, add a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper and set cream aside.

Add spoons-full of the squash mixture to a blender, with ladles full of the cream mixture, and pulse until desired consistency, (I pulsed twice to leave it a bit chunky.) Or use a hand blender directly in a stock pot to puree the squash and cream mixture together to desired consistency.

Note: Do not put HOT ingredients in blender, they must be cooled slightly. Also, do NOT fill blender more than half way with ingredients.

Continue the process of ladeling, spooning and pulsing, pouring pureed mixture off into a large stock pot as you go. Warm soup before serving, garnish with parsley and glazed walnuts if desired.

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