We discovered a delicious surprise growing in our backyard garden this summer…acorn squash! We hadn’t planned to grow any, and here’s what happened:
Two summers ago, my in-laws gave us some acorn squash that they had grown in their garden. My husband Jack and I compost our kitchen scraps, and we are guessing that we must have mistakenly placed some of the seeds from those acorn squash in our compost bin. After a fairly mild winter last year, we suspect that those acorn squash seeds survived in the warmth of the compost bin. So this past Spring, Jack worked all of that compost into our garden soil – and you guessed it – acorn squash started growing everywhere in our garden!
Acorn squash is actually one of my favorites – so I wasn’t really complaining that we had some growing in our garden this past summer! Jack ended up pinching off all but one acorn squash plant – and that one plant produced almost a dozen squash in different sizes.
I suggested to Jack that we make a soup using some of the squash – so here is our Acorn Squash and Pear Soup recipe!
This Acorn Squash and Pear Soup is creamy, smooth and delicious! Acorn squash has a very mild flavor so we added a fresh Bosc pear to the pureed soup as well for some complexity. The flavors of the soup are savory and slightly sweet, and a touch of brandy adds even more rich flavor.
We garnished this wonderful Acorn Squash and Pear Soup with crispy fried sage leaves (also from our garden) plus a little bit of crystallized ginger – for a perfect savory-sweet finish.
- 3 acorn squash, about 4 ½ pounds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup shallots, chopped
- ½ cup sweet onion, diced (such as Vidalia)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 peeled and cored ripe Bosc pear, chopped
- ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh sage minced, about 2-3 leaves
- Pinch Cayenne pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ cup brandy
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Chopped crystallized ginger
- Fried sage leaves (small leaves work best)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Snap the stem off each squash and when inverted, if the squash does not sit flat, trim a little off until it does. Do this for the bottom as well. Cut each squash in half on the horizon and remove and discard seeds.
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil and place each squash half face up. Divide salt, pepper, allspice and butter between the six halves.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake until almost fork tender, about one hour. The squash should be almost tender. The flesh will be removed in another step and cooked further.
- While squash are baking, in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add shallots and onion. Cook until tender and translucent, about five minutes. Lower temperature if they start to get too browned.
- Add garlic, pear, ginger, sage, cayenne and nutmeg and cook for two minutes.
- Add brandy and cook until the brandy has evaporated. Add stock and Worcestershire sauce and remove from heat until the squash has finished baking.
- Once the squash is cooked, pour butter that pooled in each squash into the pot. Cool the squash until it can be handled and remove all flesh from the skin and add to the pot. Discard skins.
- Heat the pot to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Using an immersion blender, puree to smooth.
- If you are using the optional garnishes, fry the sage leaves in a thin sheen of hot oil on both sides to crisp and remove to a paper towel. Mince the candied ginger then sprinkle both on top of each serving.
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