For some reason, every year when fall rolls around I find myself spending more time in the kitchen and making more elaborate meals. I’m not sure if it’s because the weather is cooler, so being in a hot kitchen for hours is more pleasant or because I just like fall food more, so I’m more motivated or some other reason entirely. (Or maybe it’s just the association of the whole season with Thanksgiving.) Regardless, I’ve come to regard fall as the time to try out involved, multi-step recipes. This one definitely fits the bill, and it’s well worth it.
As I said a few days ago, I love winter squash. Really, I love fall cooking in general. I love the deep, rich flavors. I love root vegetables. I love anything roasted. Hell, I love that I can turn on the oven without making the house unbearably hot. I love the hearty, comforting foods. I love soup. I love the Maillard reaction. I love that somehow, when the weather gets cooler, I can add more butter and not feel (as) guilty. I love coming in from a crisp day to a house that smells like cooking. This soup is a great example of why I love fall food. Rich, earthy butternut squash, sweet pears and warm spices, all in one steaming hot bowl (with a chill streak of crème fraîche to make you grateful to be sitting in a warm kitchen.)
A few days ago, I had hands down the best winter squash I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. I don’t have such hubris as to talk about my own cooking that way (although my preparation was pretty damn good.) Just the squash itself was amazing. Eating the steamed squash plain with nothing added was phenomenal…rich, earthy and sweet in much the same way as all winter squash, but somehow moreso. Have you ever tried to cook or eat a carving pumpkin? They taste like someone took the flavor of an acorn or butternut and cut it in half. This tasted like someone took the flavor of an acorn or butternut and doubled it.