Squash Soup That Tastes Like Pears
You know that old saw about necessity being the mother of invention? Well, sometimes, forgetting an ingredient is the best thing that can happen to a recipe. Not that I’d advocate leaving anything out of this recipe, especially not the pears, which are what make it taste like pears. Truth is, I already saved you that step by spacing on some originally-called-for tomatoes. Now, I couldn’t eat it any other way. In fact, I’ve never eaten it any other way and neither should you.
Squash Soup That Tastes Like Pears
Hit the farmers market for a 2-pound butternut squash, a couple of ripe pears, some garlic and a large leek. If you find yourself in Brooklyn Heights, be sure and patronize the skinny, humpbacked farmer’s stand. A recent count revealed that I’ve escorted nine, possibly ten field trips’ worth of crazed children around that market over the last half-decade, and no matter how many tiny, jacked up hands were laying siege to his produce, that guy always had a smile and some Indian corn to lay on the little monsters. He’s earned your business.
Peel and quarter the pears . Make life easier ! Remove the skin with the same utensil you use on carrots (or, alternatively, hire a scullery maid).
Peel the squash, seed it and cut it into chunks. I won’t lie. This is a much bigger bitch than stripping off pear skin, but it’s slightly more manageable if you cut the neck off, peel that like a giant cucumber, then slice the rounded part into crescents so you can pretend it’s a cantaloupe.
Bisect the leek lengthwise, slice it and rinse as thoroughly as you would your fine hand washables, which presumably do not have sand in them. (Woolite is optional, but not recommended unless you’re casting about for a reason to dial that dishy operator at the Poison Control switchboard.)
Hammer up a couple of cloves of garlic, and put them in a bowl along with the squash, the pears, and the leek. Salt ‘em up with a quarter teaspoon of the good, fresh-from-the-sea stuff, crack some pepper over them, drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and dump the whole greasy lot out onto a cookie sheet, preferably one with some sort of gutter or guard rail. You don’t want all your goodies plunging to the bottom of the oven when you go in for one of your periodic stirrings, do you? Say, when was the last time you cleaned that thing? I did mine yesterday, but only because I nearly set off the building’s sprinkler system when the run-off from a recent cranberry confection filled the entire apartment with smoke in less time than it takes to light a sparkler. And just between you and me, I’m not sure how thoroughly I sponged off that Easy-Off, though there’s no denying it got the job done. (“Hello, Poison Control?”)
At any rate, this perp’s looking at 45 minutes to an hour at 400º. Don’t forget to stir every so often, so it gets an even tan.
Meanwhile, dissolve two cubes of Knorr Vegetarian Vegetable Bouillon in four cups of water. Congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself umpteen hours of labor, boiling and authenticity. Can I have my own show on the Food Network now?
Is your blender still working? Good, that makes one of us. Load the old nag up with half the roasted produce and half the vegetable stock. Give it enough of a whiz to wind up with something the consistency of baby food (the kind you’d feed to a six-month-old, not one of your older, toothier models.) Repeat with the remaining stock n’ veg. You could probably eat it now, but let’s just cross our eyes and dot our T’s by putting it in a sauce pan over medium heat for ten minutes, shall we?
Serve with sliced scallions, crumbled blue cheese, multigrain bread and anything else that helps you feel like hearty peasant stock when you dunk it in your soup.
Wonder what would happen if you tried adding some tomatoes…and recharging the battery camera battery so as to have enough juice to capture the finished product, which was a pretty pureed gold.
The Brooklyn Heights farmers market runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in front of Borough Hall. Be sure and tell my favorite farmer that he’s burning up the Internet.