Happy Mabon

Thursday was Mabon, the Autumn Equinox! It's the time when night and day stand equal in duration and is a great opportunity to celebrate balance. Look back and asssess the year with honesty - there's a lot of pressure in today's society for everything to always be good, even when it sucks. If you haven't before, embrace now that sometimes things just suck. Study the bad so that you can learn from it, transform it, and move forward into the new season without it weighing you down.

But down to what really matters - the food! I made a butternut-pear soup and crispy rosemary chicken. I have to say, it may be the best butternut soup I've ever made - and the only change was the addition of the roasted pear.

So, cut your butternut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and, as usual, set aside for roasting (I love to roast them and then garnish my soup with them). Brush the cut-side of the squash with some olive oil or butter, and rub in some salt and pepper. Roast (flesh side down) in a 425 degree oven for about 40 minutes, then add the peeled and chopped pear (I used two asian pears from my CSA; apples would also be a delicious addition) and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool before scooping out the flesh with a spoon and throwing it into a big bowl with the pears and 2 cups chicken broth.

While the squash is cooling, heat up 1 Tbs olive oil in a large soup pot. Saute 1-2 shallots (depending on size) and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes; add 4 minced garlic cloves and saute another 30 seconds. Add to the bowl of squash and pear.

Blend until smooth; I do so with an immersion blender, but you could also use a food processor. Traditional blenders don't tend to work well for this in my opinion, unless you have a higher end chef quality beast of a machine.

Once at a texture that pleases you - I don't obsess about mine being perfectly creamy, I like a few small chunks of squash to bite into - pour into a pot over medium high heat. Season with cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. I added another cup of chicken broth to thin the soup. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes so the flavors meld; then remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup heavy cream.


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