Fall is my favorite time of the year to cook – who’s with me? When the weather gets cooler, I’m filled with this urge to cook, cook, cook. The smells, the tastes, the warmth of the oven – I absolutely love it.
Tonight I experimented with a soup featuring beautiful fall flavors: acorn squash and pears. Since acorn squash is so often prepared with cinnamon and sugar, I decided to make croutons with those same flavors. The combination worked really well, if a little unexpected. The best part was that my kitchen was filled with the smell of cinnamon toast.
Take advantage of squash, pumpkins, and other seasonal produce if you’re looking to save money on cooking this fall.
Acorn Squash and Pear Soup with Cinnamon Sugar Croutons
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: Over 1 hour
You can roast the squash in advance to save time. Add more brown sugar or jam for a sweeter version of this delicate soup.
1 acorn squash
1 red pear
3 shallots or 1 medium yellow or white onion
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apricot or pear jam
Salt and pepper
For cinnamon sugar croutons:
1 demi baguette or small loaf of crusty bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar blend
Heat oven to 400F. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Grease the bottom of a small baking dish with olive oil, and place squash cut-side down in the dish. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow squash to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 375F. To make croutons, cut demi baguette into small cubes. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add bread and toss until evenly coated. Add cinnamon sugar and toss to coat. Bake croutons for 10 to 12 minutes, or until toasted.
Peel the skin off of the pear and cut into small pieces. Cut shallots into small pieces. In a large saucepan, simmer chicken broth together with the pear and shallots. Remove squash from its skin and add to saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat until cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cooled, transfer contents to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat before serving. Serve with cinnamon sugar croutons.