|Spicy Squash, Fennel & Pear Soup|
There is no cold weather dish more ubiquitous than squash soup. So I was not overly enthusiastic about this week's French Friday with Dorie challenge: Spicy Squash, Fennel and Pear Soup. But I was surprised to discover this recipe is pure holiday cheer in a bowl. It is quick and simple to make, and way better than TJ's soup in a box. I recommend this soup as a winter first course or, with proper accoutrements, an afternoon's entree.
|Ingredients at the ready|
The ingredients establish a festive mood. The orange squash is the color of Thanksgiving; the fennel adds a distinct licorice aroma reminiscent of hot spiced rum; and who can forget the importance of the pear in the Twelves Days of Christmas? The roasted squash, fennel and smooth and succulent pears all add an elegant touch to the basic butternut squash soup. The recipe calls for a large Spanish onion and a green onion or scallion. Since I had all three on hand, I decided to use them all and kick up the onion contribution a bit. This combination worked really well in adding a rounded onion profile to the soup. In addition to the ground ginger, I had a little fresh ginger on hand and added both to a touch of ground cumin and nutmeg. Before I knew it, I was throatily singing Christmas carols and became eager to Deck the Halls with something or other. But the real difference maker was the orange zest. The fragrant zest of the orange is like a tango of orange blossoms dancing across your palate with a little kick of ginger to keep the dance going.
|Onion, Celery & Fennel base|
|Roasted squash ready for peeling and dicing|
|Diced squash ready to go into soup base|
For the health and calorie conscious, this soup has no cream. It is made strictly from the vegetables, fruit and stock. This is a real plus for those who have dairy allergies or are lactose intolerant.
|All ingredients are in dutch oven and waiting for stock|
|Stock is added and soup is brought to slow boil|
|I love my immersion blender - soup in minutes and no mess of transferring to a blender|
We garnished with creme fraiche, roasted pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of lemon that really brightened the flavors of the soup. It's a gorgeous, velvety, luscious soup that, when paired with the previous weeks' 20 minute duck and the pumpkin stuffed with everything good might be my go-to meal this holiday entertaining season!
Go to www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com to read more experiences with this recipe from my fellow Dorista's.
|The pumpkin seeds and creme fraiche add great contrast in texture to the soup|
|A perfect autumn afternoon in the desert|