This recipe, from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Soups, is a favourite. I make extra squash for my daughter, who likes squash without the soup part, and I make extra pears for me, because they are yummy and sweet and just too good not to eat right out of the oven.
Be sure to save the squash seeds and pear trimmings for the stock. To keep it pareve, use oil instead of butter and omit the crème fraîche.
- 1 2-1/2-pound dense winter squash (Buttercup, Acorn, etc), rinsed
- 3 ripe but firm pears, quartered, seeds and stems removed
- 1 chunk fresh ginger, about 2-inches long
- sunflower or olive oil for the squash
- sea salt
- 2 TBSP butter or oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds (don’t throw them away!), then cut each half into thirds. Put the pieces in a large baking dish or roasting pan with the pears and all but a few slices of the ginger. Brush with oil, season with salt, and bake until fragrant and tender, about 1 hour. Turn the pieces once or twice or so that they have a chance to caramelize on more than one surface. If the squash seems very dry (some varieties are), add 1 cup water to the pan to create steam and cover with foil. When the squash is tender, transfer everything from the pan to a butting board, add 1 cup water to the pan, and scrape to dissolve the juices, reserving the liquid. Scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skins. You should have about 2 cups.
2. To make a stock, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the seeds and, eventually, the squash skins, the ginger, and 1/2 tsp salt. (I add the pear trimmings too.) Lower the heat and summer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the onion, give it a stir, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown a bit and is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the pears, ginger, and squash, then the reserved deglazing water. Strain the stock into the pot, then lower the heat and summer, covered, for 25 minutes. Cool briefly, the puree until smooth and pass through a food mill to ensure a silky texture if desired. Serve as is or stir in the crème fraîche.