Are you looking for a healthy, hearty soup loaded with vegetables your kids will eat? Do you want a bowl of soup that is easy to make and delicious? Would you like to know how to make this delicious soup? Are you wondering what fennel is and how to prep it? Well then, read on!
A few months ago, my husband and I were in North Carolina and had a wonderful Curried Acorn Squash and Apple soup for lunch, at the home of good friends of ours, Donna and Frank. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this soup was! I have been thinking about it and wanting to make it ever since. One of the main reasons it was so good and rich, was that it had a whopping 2 cups of heavy cream in it.
If you know me or have been following my blog, you know I wouldn’t normally shy away from a recipe like this. But I’m trying to stay true to my New Year’s resolutions which are; to eat healthier and get more exercise. Not to mention, I have to lose the weight I put on during my 24 day Christmas blogging marathon. So, you can see my dilemma?
I think I found the perfect compromise in this scrumptious Butternut Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup. This recipe was adapted from Dori Greenspan’s wonderful cookbook, Around my French Table. The ingredients are very similar to the Southern Living recipe that Donna made, but it doesn’t call for any cream, In fact, this recipe is the very essence of healthy low-calorie cooking, plus it is delicious! We loved it, and I know you will too!
The ingredients are butternut squash or acorn squash, onion, shallot, olive oil, a fennel bulb, celery, garlic, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, chicken broth, two ripe pears, orange peel, and lemons.
You can substitute acorn squash for the butternut squash and if you would like to make this a vegetarian meal, simply substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
To begin, slice your butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. You do not need to peel it first. Cut it into a few more pieces, the smaller the chunks, the quicker it will cook. Rub the flesh with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place in a 425-degree oven.
Roast for about 60 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. When done, let it cool, peel it and cut into cubes. Set aside.
Add olive oil to a Dutch Oven and heat over low heat. Add chopped onions and shallot. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook about 10 minutes, or until the onions start to soften.
If you are like me and have never cooked with fennel before, here is how to core it and slice it. If you have, you know what to do here….
To prepare fennel, first cut off the fronds.
Then slice in half, and cut out the core in a wedge.
Next, just slice thinly.
Add sliced fennel, celery, garlic and a pinch more salt and cook, stirring often for about 10-15 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft.
Stir in the ginger, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper and add the roasted squash. Pour in 5-6 cups of broth and increase the heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the soup can simmer. Add the peeled and chopped pears and the orange peel. (Use a vegetable peeler to peel your orange. If there is any pith attached to the peel, use a very sharp knife and gently scrape or cut it off.)
Partially cover the pot and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the pears and squash are tender enough to mash easily with a fork.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. If the soup is too thick, you can add an additional cup of chicken broth and reheat.
Ladle into bowls and finish with a little lemon juice.