Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup {FFwD}

When I posted the Twenty-minute Honey-glazed Duck Breasts this morning, I wasn’t planning on writing this week’s French Fridays post until next week. In fact, I hadn’t even made the soup yet, so posting it today seemed out of the question. But with the girls at school, J resting on the couch, Bailey napping wherever he could find a comfortable spot, and me off work for the day, it just seemed like a great time for some cooking. Add to that the fact that we got our first snow overnight, and soup was the perfect choice for the afternoon.

I started out by roasting a pumpkin.

It was only a 3-pounder, so I was surprised by how much meat I got from it.

Next, I did my mise en place. I’m a big proponent of using mise en place for cooking and baking, and I always employ it for soups, which tend to require a lot of measuring, peeling, and chopping but come together quickly once you start cooking. With all your ingredients in front of you, most of the work is behind you.

I sautéed onions in olive oil over low heat, then added fennel, celery, and garlic and cooked until the vegetables softened.

I added spices, the roasted pumpkin, homemade chicken stock, pear, and orange peel to the pot, brought it to a boil, then simmered for about 20 minutes, until the pear was mashably soft.

I pureed the soup with my immersion blender, then adjusted the salt and pepper. Most soups are oversalted for my tastes, so I had used very little salt while preparing the soup. I stirred in a little at a time until the balance was perfect. As I tasted the soup, I thought it might benefit from a little honey to help bolster the sweetness of the pears, so I stirred in about 2 tablespoons of clover honey.

I served the soup with a squeeze of lemon juice and crème fraîche.

The soup was creamy, savory, a little sweet, and spiced just right. The acid from the lemon juice gave it great balance, and the crème fraîche added a nice tang. I could just barely taste the orange peel, and it seemed like the soup would be really good with just a bit more orange flavor, maybe from some zest or a bit of juice.

But it was pretty close to perfect just the way it was.

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11 Comments

  1. September 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

    […] you remember when you made Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup for French Fridays with Dorie? You can be forgiven if you don’t; it was almost a year ago. It […]

  2. Kathy said,

    November 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Such a nice way to spend a snowy day! Your soup looks wonderful! What a great idea to add a little honey. I agree, it didn’t have enough of an orange flavor. I think I would add zest next time.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Yes, zest, and perhaps a few drops of orange oil.

  3. Kayte said,

    November 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I do love soup, and am curious about the flavor combination in this one, so no doubt I will make it somewhere along the line. Nice job on the mep prep…I always mean to do it like that all nicely set aside but the truth is that I sort of start out that way, get impatient, and then just start throwing things together in my own way…not ideal by a long shot. I thought you must have had the day off for all you were getting accomplished Friday!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Soup comes together so fast once you start cooking it, that if I don’t do my mep, things get out of control quickly.

  4. Betsy said,

    November 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    You had a productive day. I loved this soup. Glad you could fit it in. It’s perfect to go with your first snowfall (which at least waited for November, we had ours in October).

    • gaaarp said,

      November 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      My wife’s not a big soup fan, but she even liked this one.

      We usually get snow in October, so it was nice that it held off until November this year.

  5. Alice said,

    November 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I totally do mise en place too! it works great when you have a baby and lets you make things faster, its great! so far you are the only one that didnt use a squash! But I noticed you really like the pumpkins!! 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      November 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Had I had the type of squash that Dorie talked about in the intro, I would have used it. But I always have baking pumpkins this time of year, so that’s what I used.

  6. Cher said,

    November 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Ah, how lucky to have a day off while the young ones are away (it was the opposite here – I had to work and the kids had the day off…)
    The blending of flavors in this soup were really a pleasant surprise – I am sure the effect also varies with the type of squash used.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      They had off on Tuesday, and I had to work. There are one or two bank holidays that don’t coordinate with days the schools are closed. It’s nice to all be off together, but sometimes it’s nice to have a real “day off”, too.


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