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Roasted Winter Squash and Pear Soup with Crème and Fried Sage

Image of pears
This quick and easy soup is a modern rendition of a traditional Thanksgiving favorite — Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. While other recipes incorporate tart apple or spicy curry as a counterpoint flavor to highlight the sweet taste of the roasted squash, this innovative dish pairs the delicate, buttery, honey/tart flavor of roasted Bosc Pear, fruity white wine and fried sage for a new flavor twist. Elegant and refined, this slightly sweet, savory soup will please the palates of both finicky kids and adult foodies alike! To coax the maximum amount of flavor out of the veggies, this fall soup is cooked in two stages: First the vegetables are cooked slowly with just a little bit of fat (hazelnut oil), but without liquid, until soft. Then, turkey stock is added to make the soup — but the actual flavor of the soup has already been developed in the first step. The longest part of the cooking occurs with no liquid so that most of the water can be removed from the vegetables. This crucial step ensures success: since winter squash has a fair amount of sugar, it’s important to cook it low-and-slow, which caramelizes the starches to just the right point of sweetness. No short-cuts allowed, or, the finished dish will taste bland. It’s also important to fry the sage until just crisp (but not brown) before incorporating it into the recipe—this step not only “tames” the harsh, medicinal taste of this potent herb, but also transforms it’s tough, woody texture into a delicate, crunch-- more pleasing on the tongue. Topped with crumbled, fried sage and Mexican Crema, this gourmet soup is sure to be a new holiday hit!

Roasted Winter Squash and Pear Soup with Crème and Fried Sage
Serves: 4-6 appetizer servings
Image of squash soup
2 tablespoon Roasted Hazelnut Oil
1 Korbata Squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 Butternut Squash, cut in half length wise and seeded
1 large Yellow Onion; peeled and cut into half, and then 1/2-inch thick rings
1 Bosc Pear
Salt and White Pepper to taste
2½ cups Turkey Stock
½ tsp. White Pepper
1½ teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoon Pinot Grigio Wine
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
4-6 sprigs Fresh Sage
4 tablespoon Crema Mexicana (can substitute Crème Fraiche)

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Film the cut sides of squash with hazel nut oil and season with salt and white pepper. Place winter squash and onion in two 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dishes. Heat for 1 hour, or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Pour collected juices from the bottom of the baking dishes into a container, and set aside for later use. (Can be done a day in advance). Scoop out flesh from roasted squashes and set aside. Remove skin and seeds from roasted pear and set aside, Place canola oil into a small, nonstick skillet on medium heat and fry sage sprigs until crisp but not brown, about 5 seconds. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Place pear, squash, onions, salt, white pepper, wine and collected juices into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour soup into a pot and heat on medium heat until simmering, and cook for 5 minutes to heat through and boil off alcohol in the wine. Ladle into a serving bowls and drizzle 1 tablespoon of Crème on top of soup. Top with crumbled fried sage and serve.

Notes from the Author:
Try topping this soup with toasted Pepitas (raw, shelled pumpkin seeds) for an added dimension of flavor and texture.
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