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With the days getting shorter and the nights colder, we feel it is time for a winter squash soup to warm the body and the spirit! Roasted pears are a welcome addition, giving the soup and rich sweetness. Topped with crispy fried sage leaves and a chopped pear and pickled shallot mignonette, it makes an irresistible start to any autumn meal.
1 stick butter
1 large winter squash
4 Bosc pears
1 large leek, cleaned and diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
20 sage leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 small shallot
1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup cream
In a small pot over medium high heat, cook the butter until it bubbles. Add the sage leaves and cook them until they turn dark green. Remove them with a fork and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside and continue to cook the butter until golden brown particles begin to settle in the bottom of the pot. Remove from the heat and set aside on your stove top so it stays warm and melted.
Finely dice the shallot and cover it in white wine or champagne vinegar. Finely dice one pear and add that to the shallot mix. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F
Remove the stem and butt end of the squash and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds. Rub the squash with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Place it cut side down on a sheet tray. Cut the stems off of the pears and cut them in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and place them face down on the sheet tray as well. Roast until the pears and squash are tender and easily punctured with a fork, about 20-30 minutes.
In a large pot over medium high heat, sauté the fennel, onion, garlic and leeks over medium high heat with a generous pinch of salt. Saute them until they are fragrant and translucent. Add the wine and 2 quarts of water or broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle boil for 15 minutes.
Scoop the tender squash out of it's skin and place in the soup pot along with the roasted pear. Continue to cook, simmering for 5 minutes. Transfer the mix to a blender (about 1/2 at a time) and puree until it is smooth. Slowly stream in the brown butter and cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
To finish, plate the soup and top it with a spoonful of the mignonette, a couple crispy fried sage leaves and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!
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