Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Pears

By Anna Watson Carl | November 13, 2015
I first tried this soup at a Newfoundland-themed dinner at the James Beard House in downtown Manhattan, and was determined to recreate it at home. I love the combination of pears and butternut squash, and the way they create such a creamy texture without any cream.


Butternut Squash Soup
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
Spiced Pears
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Crème fraîche or Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)



Serves 4, with leftovers 

For the Butternut Squash Soup: 
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

Place the squash, onions, and carrot on the foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Scatter 4 thyme sprigs on top of the vegetables. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. 

Transfer the squash mixture to a large heavy-bottomed pot, add the garlic, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and coriander and stir to combine. Place the pot over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and the remaining 2 thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the squash is nearly falling apart, about 10 
minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Discard the thyme sprigs. 

For the Spiced Pears:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pears and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon, curry powder, cloves, and cumin and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender and coated in the spices, about 3 minutes. Set aside. 

You have two options here. Either transfer the soup and the pears in batches to a blender and purée until smooth. (NOTE: Be careful of the hot liquid!! Make sure to hold down the lid with a thick towel so you don’t get burned.) Feel free to thin the soup with additional broth if it appears too thick. Pour back into a clean pot to keep warm on the stove. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Or, purée just the soup, and stir in the spiced pears when serving. 
Serve in bowls and garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche or Greek yogurt, if desired. 

Store the soup, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reprinted with permission from The Yellow Table published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. (c) Anna Watson Carl. Photography by Signe Birck.

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