squash and pear soup

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Roasted Squash, Pear, and Ginger Soup

From the book Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen by
Serves 6
Yield 4½ cups


This fall soup is like putting on the first sweater of the season: it just feels so good. Although the soup takes several steps — roasting the squash and pears (which can be done a day ahead of time), cooking them, and finally puréeing the soup — none involve much from you. It’s an easily made soup that will keep well for days — a great possibility for a holiday meal.


1 Buttercup, Perfection, or other dense winter squash, rinsed (2½ pounds total)
3 ripe but firm pears, any variety, quartered, seeds and stems removed
1 chunk fresh ginger root (about 2 inches long), thinly sliced
~ Sunflower-seed oil or olive oil for roasting the squash and pears
~ Sea salt
2 Tbsp. butter or sunflower-seed oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast the squash and the pears: Cut the squash in half, scrape out and reserve the seeds, then cut each half into thirds. Put the pieces in a large baking dish or roasting pan with the pears and all but a few slices of the ginger. Brush with oil, season with salt, and bake until fragrant and tender, about 1 hour. Turn the pieces once or twice so that they have a chance to caramelize on more than one surface. If the squash seems very dry (some varieties are), add 1 cup water to the pan to create steam and cover with foil.
  3. When the squash is tender, transfer everything from the pan to a cutting board, add 1 cup water to the pan, and scrape to dissolve the juices, reserving the liquid. Scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skins. You should have about 2 cups of squash flesh.
  4. Make the stock: Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add the reserved seeds and, eventually, the squash skins, the remaining ginger, and ½ teaspoon salt. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Make the soup: Meanwhile, melt the butter or oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, give it a stir, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown a bit and is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the pears, ginger, and squash, then the reserved deglazing water. Strain the stock into the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Cool briefly, then purée until smooth and pass through a food mill or strainer to ensure a silky texture.
  6. To serve: Serve as is, or swirl in the crème fraîche or sour cream.



Dice a pear or an apple, sprinkle with a little sugar, and caramelize in a little butter or oil. Use these “croutons” as a finishing touch.

Omit the ginger and add cooked wild rice to the finished soup.

Crisp thin strips of fresh ginger in oil or butter and add a cluster to each serving.

Related article: Soup season

This content is from the book Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen by Deborah Madison.

There are 2 comments on this item
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100% recommend this recipe
1. by Wineaux on Oct 15, 2009 at 2:12 PM PDT

Delicious! I ate it with my eyes when reading the recipe and had to run out for the ingredients. A nice cozy recipe to warm up with on a colder wetter kind of day. It makes my house smell yummy too! Thanks for the great recipe!

2. by Laura Parisi on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:19 PM PST

Made this soup last week (with apples instead of pears, since that’s what I had) and it was FANTASTIC. I mean, truly one of the best squash soups I’ve ever tasted.

Now, I hope my suggestion doesn’t offend, as Deborah Madison is one of my heroes of vegetarian cooking, but now that I’m a meat eater, I did decide to fry up some crispy bacon and chop it up as a garnish when I reheated the soup for leftovers. If you eat meat, you must try this. The salty, crispy bits are an excellent accompaniment to the sweetness of the soup.

I’m eating it right now and I’m in soup heaven. =)

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