curried pear and butternut soup

Before you quickly click away from this post muttering squash, AGAIN?? please humor me. If there’s any time of the year I’m allowed to indulge my love of all things gourd, it’s fall.

On Halloween evening I biked to the grocery store to procure a baguette. We were going to have it with Mark’s delicious Punkin Ale rendition of this Beer Baked Beans recipe. I rode home with my baguette sticking out from behind me, feeling like I was headed to a dinner party in Montmarte.

butternut squash soup

The best thing about that little jaunt though were the pumpkins. Dotting front stoops like jolly orange goblins, glowing as if they had invaded the streets of Syracuse, the rotund globes guided me all the way home. There’s something about a carved pumpkin that makes me smile every time. Leaves crackled under my bike tires as I passed people in lawn chairs doling out candy. My twilight ride wove through neighborhood streets that grew more festive as the sun sank.

butternut squash soup

But my recipe today doesn’t have to do with beans, baguettes, or pumpkins, but another type of squash. I’ve posted about the silky, meaty butternut before, but today it’s back, pureed into a low fat soup with pears and curry powder. Here it is pictured with a swirl of sour cream.

butternut squash soup

Some friends and I made this soup a few weeks ago as part of our newly founded “Estro-cook” nights. The semi-weekly Sunday evening cook-a-thon was named after a Winnipeg Folk Festival workshop called “Estro-Jam,” where women from different bands teamed up to play a daytime stage.

I just love how this picture shows off the sunny October afternoon I enjoyed it on. Having soup in the freezer is one life’s easiest pleasures.

This soup can even be dressed up with cubes of tofu and green lentils, as this cafe on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast did. I took this picture while I was solo cycle-touring around Vancouver island, and this picture reminds me of those days, spent largely alone, when a bowl of soup and a Moleskine journal could very well be a vagabond’s best friend.

And years later, though I am holed up in Syracuse as the fall wilts to shades of ochre, the dear gourd does it again.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

serves 8

2 T butter, margarine, or cooking oil of your choice (olive, grapeseed, canola)
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
1 T curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup apple juice
4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (my mom pokes it with a fork and microwaves it for 5 minutes to make it easier to peel)
2 cups peeled, chopped pears (or use canned)
½ tsp salt

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onions and cook over medium heat until they are soft and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the spices over the onions and cook another minute.
  2. Add broth, apple juice, squash, and pears. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until squash is tender.
  3. Using a hand blender, blend the soup until it is either completely silky smooth, or just until it is however chunky you like it. Add the salt.
  4. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley.

adapted from Looneyspoons: Low-Fat Food Made Fun! by Janet and Greta Podleski

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