My delightful billy goat made this delicious soup with ingredients that came from our basement (mostly). We’re not participating in the Dark Days challenge, but it almost qualifies, depending on how you classify the pears. We used fresh pears from a not-terribly-local-or-organic source, but if you want to be exceedingly virtuous, you could make this from dried pears, should you have any left. The ingredients are nothing particularly special, but somehow it ends up being more than the sum of its parts. And like all soups, it’s better the next day.
Pumpkin Pear Soup
1 quart frozen pumpkin
1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade, or vegetable stock if you want a vegan soup
2 T olive oil or butter, if you’re doing local
1 large onion, chopped
3 ripe pears, peeled and diced, or 1 c. dried pears, chopped
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 c. white wine
parsley or cilantro for garnish
1) If you’re using dried pears, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
2) Put the pumpkin and the stock in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add some salt. Simmer for at least 20 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, heat up the oil or butter in a skillet. Turn down the heat to medium low and add the onions. Cook slowly until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Now add pears (dried or fresh) and the thyme sprigs and keep cooking. You want everything to be soft and delicious and slightly brown. Salt helps.
4) Puree the pumpkin/stock mixture in a blender (you can skip this if your pumpkin is very smooth). Stir in the onions and pears (remove the thyme). Pour the wine into the skillet to deglaze it and let it cook for just a couple of minutes. Then toss the wine into the pot, too. Adjust the seasonings and garnish as desired.
This keeps several days in the fridge and freezes well.