This squash soup is the epitome of fall. Colorful, rich, shot through with warm spices. Roasting the squash, shallot and pear add depth of flavor, and caramelized diced pear adds both visual interest and a complex sweet note. Enjoy with the Bonterra Chardonnay.
2 ripe but firm pears
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot
1 medium kabocha squash
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
3 cups vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 425.
Core and cut one pear into a small dice and toss with ½ teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread onto one quarter of a cookie sheet. Cut other pear in half, core it and brush it and the halved shallot with olive oil. Place both cut side down next to the diced pear.
Halve a kabocha squash and scrape out seeds. Brush the flesh of the squash with soy sauce and remaining ½ teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle garlic slices onto the squash’s flesh. Place squash on the other half of the cookie sheet, cut side up, and transfer cookie sheet to oven.
Cook the diced pear for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until caramelized. Remove to a plate and set aside. Transfer the shallot and halved pear to a medium pot after 30 minutes and remove skin on both. Roast the squash for a total of 45-50 minutes, until flesh can easily be pierced with a spoon.
When squash is done, scrape the flesh into the pot with the pear and shallot. Add coriander, fennel, vanilla, butter, milk and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Add a good pinch of sea salt. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Blend well with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, and cook another 5 minutes to blend flavors. Spoon into 4 bowls and top with caramelized pear.