Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Soup = Acorn Squash + Sunflower Seed & Lemon Pesto + Grilled Pear

"Inverbrook Farm has acorn squash in its CSA share this week, so I thought I'd do a soup, one that was representative of the transition from summer to fall. The lemon and sunflower seed pesto adds a nice bright acidity to the dish and it complements the acorn squash well." - Corey

makes about 1 gallon
what you need:
for the soup:
Acorn Squash, 3 large, split in half 
Cinnamon, ground, 1/2 tsp.
Onion, 1 cup, med diced
Butter, 3 Tbsp.
Vegetable stock, 1 gallon 
Apple Cider, 1 quart
Pears, peeled, med diced, 3 each 
Kosher Salt, to taste
White Pepper, ground, pinch

for the pesto:
Italian Parsley, 1 cup
Mint, 1/4 cup
Watercress (or spinach), 1 cup packed
Shallot, 1 each
Garlic Clove, 1 each
Sunflower Seeds, toasted, 1/2 cup
Parmesan, grated, 1/2 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 cup
Lemon Zest, from 1 lemon
Fresh Lemon Juice, 3 Tbsp.
Kosher Salt, to taste

for garnish:
Pear, sliced 1/4 inch thick, 3 each
Olive Oil, 1 Tbsp.
Kosher Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Sunflower Seeds, toasted, as needed

how you make it:
1. In a bowl, toss the cut squash with the ground cinnamon, salt, and olive oil. 
2. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees until tender.

3. Remove the squash, peel, and cool.
4. In a large pot over medium heat, sweat the onions and pears in the butter.
5. Season the mixture with white pepper and deglaze with apple cider.
6. Add the peeled squash and vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Puree the mixture until smooth, taste for seasoning, and add salt as needed (you may need to adjust the consistency with additional stock). Keep warm.
8. Blend all of the ingredients for the pesto together in a food processor, adding oil as needed. Set aside.
9. Gently toss the pears for garnish in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill lightly and cool (or you can sauté them lightly). Cool and cut into large dice.
10. Serve the soup drizzled with lemon sunflower seed pesto. Finish with a heaping tablespoon of the grilled pears in the center of the soup, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.