It’s been over a year since I started cooking with French Fridays with Dorie group and it’s amazing to see the sheer number of dishes I cooked from Around My French Table. Out of the 42 dishes in my archive, five of them are soup and all require pureeing. Good thing I invested in an immersion blender last Christmas! This week’s Spiced Squash, Fennel, & Pear Soup is no exception and my favourite small appliance got another good workout.
I make roasted squash soup on a regular basis as soon as soup season arrives. It is low in calories yet its warmth and heft feel so satisfying this time of year. I can eat bowl after bowl without guilt. However, squash soup can be a bit one-dimensional in taste. It is a welcome change to see a recipe incorporating plenty of other vegetable and spices to give this winter standby a makeover.
Greenspan’s recipe is built upon a backbone of roasted butternut squash. Roasting brings out the sweetness in squash obviously but this is not enough to make things interesting. A base of onion and leeks gives it an underlying savoury note. Fennel and celeriac contribute a vegetal taste. The mixture of ginger, cumin, and nutmeg adds spicy warmth. Lastly, a top note of Bosc pears and orange zest highlights a bright fresh sweetness.
Vegan adaptation of this recipe is trivial. Instead of using chicken broth, I simmered the soup in homemade vegetable bouillon. I was amused when I saw how my immersion blender was totally matchy-matchy with the bright yellow colour of the soup. Food tastes better when it is colour-coordinated with the cooking utensils, I see.
If there is one thing I learn from all those soup recipes in Around My French Table, it is the importance of garnishes. Although the smooth texture of puree soup is satisfying, it can get monotonous. Adding appropriate garnishes contributes to textural interest that the soup otherwise lacks. For this squash soup, I topped it with thin slices of Bosc pear, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a few toasted pumpkin seeds. The presentation is simple but the shapes and colours instantly make the soup company-worthy.
Speaking of company, I’ll be serving a turkey supper with all the trimmings…..tomorrow. I missed out on Canadian Thanksgiving this year. All the hype about American Thanksgiving recently makes me crave turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. I invited Dad over for supper tomorrow and this is as good a reason as any to cook up a storm. Can you guess what we’ll be eating for first course?
Don’t forget to check out the soup made by other French Fridays with Dorie members!