Spiced Squash, Fennel & Pear Soup

 Adapted from SoupAddict.com

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds squash, such as butternut, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed (reserve if using for garnish)
  • 1 ripe pear, halved and cored
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons five spice blend
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Creme fraiche for garnish (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Rub the insides of your squash and pears with olive oil and place them on the baking sheet, skin side up. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the skin of the squash. 
  3. Remove from oven and allow squash and pear to cool until they can be handled. Then peel and dice both into small squares. Set aside.
  4. Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, stir in the onions and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add fennel, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt. Stirring often, cook for another 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not browning. Season the vegetables with the five spice blend, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the squash and pear dices and mix well with the seasoned vegetables.
  5. Pour in the broth, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the orange juice, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. The squash and pears should be soft.
  6. Puree the soup using an immersion blender (can also be done in batches in a conventional blender.) Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve, eat, enjoy.