Welcome fall! I will say it was rather abrupt, how you arrived this year. One day it's 90 degrees outside and the next it's 60 and raining... literally. I would have liked a few more days of 70 degree weather, with that beautiful amber sunlight so unique to this time of year. However, I do welcome the cool weather as it's a great time to make all of my favorite foods!
I adore squashes, apples, pears, chestnuts, sage, cranberries, kale.... all the wonders of this time of year. Since this is my first fall with my own blog, I'm excited to share some of my favorite recipes with you. There will be plenty of favorites that I look forward to making every year (like this one) and many new ones too. This is a great cozy soup for any busy weeknight. It's silky and satisfying and beautiful too. I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches made with gruyere, sliced apples, and fresh sage leaves. So easy and so yummy.
Be sure not to skip the oven dried pears on top. They really add to the presentation and are super easy to make. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart from several years back. It's a go-to recipe for me this time of year. Martha is my favorite homemaking goddess, as anyone who knows me can attest.
Pumpkin & Pear Soup:
Yields 6 generous servings
6 medium pears ( I used d'Anjou)
1 small sugar pumpkin (@ 2#), peeled and seeds removed, cut into 2" pieces
1 medium rutabaga, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1" pieces
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 sprig fresh sage
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 TB olive oil
1) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut 2 pears lengthwise into paper thin slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until pears are dry, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
2) Meanwhile, heat 1 Tb olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the leeks and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Peel the remaining 4 pears. Cut them in half lengthwise and core; dice into 1" pieces. Add them to the stockpot along with the pumpkin, rutabaga, sage, chili flakes, salt & pepper. Saute until vegetables are coated with oil and spices are distributed evenly. Add the vegetable stock, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
3) Discard the sage and strain off about 1 cup of stock, reserve. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, or with an immersion blender until smooth. Whisk in the cream. If the soup is too thick, add back some of the reserved stock to reach the desired consistency. (I added only 1/4 cup of the reserved stock.) Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve garnished with the beautiful dried pears.