A hearty, flavourful way to warm yourself from the inside out!
Autumn may be celebrated as ‘sweater weather’ by some, but for me it’s the return of ‘soup season’. I love opening my refrigerator and working with whatever ingredients I have on hand to craft new soup recipes, frequently consulting one of my favourite reference books, The Vegetarian Flavour Bible, to ensure harmonious combinations. Gorgeous leeks from Bryson Farms were the starting point for this creation and while apple is a more common ingredient in squash soup, in this recipe, the pear adds a great earthy tone that fits in well with the leeks and bacon. This soup is so delicious, I know I’ll be making it often, and likely in double batches as it freezes beautifully. If you’re not feeding vegans or vegetarians, don’t omit the bacon fat and bacon bits – they are a heavenly pairing with the mild-tasting vegetables.
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 medium-sized leeks
- 1 large or 2 small pears, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) bacon fat or olive oil
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Garnishes: Sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro and cooked, finely chopped bacon
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Peel squash, halve and remove seeds. Cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss so all pieces are evenly coated.
- Roast squash for 25 – 35 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While squash is roasting, cut dark green portions off leeks and discard. Halve lengthwise and rinse under cold, running water, separating layers as you do so to remove any grit. Shake off excess water.
- Slice leeks into 1/4 inch (.6 cm) pieces.
- Heat bacon fat in a large pot (I use my InstantPot for this). Add leeks and pears and sauté just until tender, stirring often (about 3 – 4 minutes).
- Add roasted squash and chicken stock. Cover pot and bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, until pear is tender.
- Purée the soup with a stick blender (or transfer to a regular blender or food processor to puree). Add lime juice and stir.
- Ladle hot soup into serving bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a teaspoon (5 mL) of cilantro and a tablespoon (15 mL) of bacon bits.
Makes 4 servings.