This soup is a wonderful cool weather treat with the comforting flavor of butternut squash, sweetened with pears and amped up with curry and ginger. Don't forget the sweet and spicy pepitas and goat cheese for garnish.
For the soup
4 pounds butternut squash
4 T olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2" piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 t - 3 T curry powder, depends on curry strength and personal preference
1 bay leaf
1 T maple syrup
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
5 Bartlett pears, quartered and seeded, peeling is optional
1 cup coconut milk (optional)
For the garnish
1 cup pepitas
1 T olive oil
2 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (optional)
For the soup
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke the butternut squash all over 8 - 10 times with a fork, so all sides are pierced. Microwave the butternut squash for 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Slice in half lengthwise. Seed the squash and place on a baking sheet. Brush with 1 - 2 T olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from the oven and cool.
While the squash is roasting, heat a large heavy bottomed soup pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add 2 T olive oil to the pan, when the oil is hot add garlic, ginger and onion. Saute for about 15 minutes until soft, taking care not to burn. Stir in some curry powder and bay leaf and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Start easy on the curry. You can always add more curry later if the curry flavor is not strong enough.
Add broth, maple syrup and pears to the pot. Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash and add to the pot, discarding the skin. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low for about 20 - 25 minutes until pears are soft and pierce easily with a fork. Remove the bay leaf.
Puree the soup using an immersion blender, standard blender or food processor.
Return the soup to the pot, add coconut milk, heat to a simmer and adjust seasonings.
For the garnish
While the soup is simmering, toast the pepitas in a medium-hot skillet, stirring frequently. When they start to brown and pop like popcorn, reduce the heat and sprinkle brown sugar, salt and cayenne pepper over them. Stir while the sugar dissolves and remove from the stove and let cool on a plate.
Serve the soup with crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkling of spiced pepitas.
The pears do not have to be peeled. Peeling them results in a smoother soup texture, but leaving the peels on adds to the nutrition of the soup.
There are three ways to puree the soup. You can use an immersion blender, a standard blender or a food processor. For the creamiest texture use a standard blender.
Commercial curry powder varies greatly in strength, so go easy on the curry unless you are very familiar with your curry. You can always add more if needed. If you plan on adding coconut milk to finish the soup you can add a little extra curry powder as the coconut mellows the curry substantially.
If you plan to freeze the soup, do not add coconut milk to the portion of the soup you will freeze. Soup may be frozen for 2 - 3 months.
Recipe by Something New For Dinner at https://somethingnewfordinner.com/recipe/curried-pear-butternut-squash-soup/