It never fails. Every year, right around Halloween, my daughter gets a nasty case of strep throat. It's a ton of fun. Our three days of captivity in the house always start with a persistent stomach ache and ends with a raging fever that drives us to a walk-in clinic. (Of course, strep throat always arrives on the weekend. Oh, right, a weekend we have something awesome planned.) This year's annual strep throat festivities commenced in the wee hours of our Saturday night, ruined a pumpkin patch visit with friends on Sunday, allowed us to witness an arrest at the walk-in clinic and ended in a stunningly unspectacular hour-long wait for our antibiotics. I can't wait for next year.
Photos by Maya Visnyei
Our yearly illness usually coincides with a sudden drop in temperature that always occurs in Ontario come October. As soon as the weather turns from isn't-this-chill-so-fun-I-get-to-throw-on-a-sweater to where-in-hell-have-I-stored-my parka, you can find us at the walk-in clinic. It's also when I start making soup. (My husband also begins his heavy rotation of grilled cheese but that's for another post.) Now that this time of year has arrived, I like to make a batch of soup each week to have around the house for quick dinners. I also love me a great soup for Scarlett's lunch. Since the school semester is about half way completed, it means I've also started to hate lunches that include a sandwich. I just feel ready for a more comforting dish. I'm sure Scarlett feels the same. (If you can relate to our lunch box fatigue, tune-in to Cityline on City TV this Wednesday for our ideas to shake up your lunch box options!)
This soup is like Fall in a bowl. The mix of heirloom carrots and butternut squash richly roasted make it a hearty and satisfying lunch or dinner. I wanted a hit of sweetness so I used a local brand of pear puree from Onatrio's Own. It's why I also tossed a bit of apple cider in as well. However, if you don't have any handy, don't fret. Just use some water. I promise the flavour will still be there. How can it not be? All those beautifully roasted vegetables deliver in spades on deliciousness.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Pear Soup
2lb. Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch chunks
3 shallots, quartered
3 heirloom carrots, cut lengthwise and then in half
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 cup vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1/2 cup apple cider or water
3/4 cup pear puree
Sour cream or Greek style yogurt for garnish
Preheat oven to 400.
Place squash, shallots, carrots and garlic in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Spread vegetables in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Place vegetables and 2 cups of the vegetable broth into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a large sauce pan over medium-low heat and stir in the last cup of broth, milk, water or apple cider, pear puree and the remaining salt. Allow the soup to cook until hot for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with a dollop of Greek style yogurt or sour cream mixed into soup.