I am in Dallas right now visiting my wonderful sister, niece and new nephew. The temperature is just shy of 84F, I find myself re-applying my deodorant multiple times a day, and the only signs of fall are the scant, apricot hued leaves that line the side walk. So a warm, hearty soup is not really on the forefront of my mind; however, when I return to the chilly, emerald city the first thing I will be making is this soup.
A spin off of the traditional blend of butternut squash and apple, this soup is a perfect combination of sweet and savory. The cider gives it a tangy bite while the aroma of the vanilla bean intoxicates all the senses. Rather than using heavy cream in this dish I used some homemade goats milk yogurt. Hearty and healthy.
So for those of you in Texas, bookmark this soup for a later date and enjoy sweet tea and ice cream for a few more weeks. And for those of you in Seattle.....make this soup....it will get you through the cold, rainy week ahead :)
Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Cider & Vanilla Bean
(tweaked from The Seattlest)
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 2lb butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 2 ripe pears, peeled and coarsley chopped
- 1 yellow onion, coarsley chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I know this sounds like a lot but it reduces when you cook the soup down. If you arent sure about it then add a little at a time, cook it down, and taste....add more if you like)
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 vanilla bean, seedes scraped and pod reserved
- chives or pumpkin seeds for garnish
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or small stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the squash, pears, and onion, stir to coat with oil, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is soft and transparent and the pears are starting to fall apart.
Add the cider, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.
Working in batches, carefully puree the mixture in a food processor or blender (If you have an immersion blender use it!) . Return the soup to the pot, and season it with salt. Continue to cook the soup over medium-low heat, uncovered, until it has reduced to about ½ to 1/3 of its original volume. Stir occasionally. The final consistency is up to you.
After it has reduced pour the yogurt into the soup. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise into two long strips. Using the back of your knife, scrape the tiny black seeds out of the bean. Scoop the seeds and the bean halves into the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat, remove and discard the vanilla bean halves.
Serve, garnished with chives.
Yield: 4-5 servings