Pumpkin Soup with Balsamic Caramelized Pears
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium pumpkin, large-diced, can use butternut squash,
1 large leek, trimmed and chopped
2 cups peeled chestnuts, fresh or frozen
1" piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg, cut in half
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
1 dried chipotle pepper
2-3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. salt, more to taste if necessary
4-5 quarts filtered water
1 small piece cheesecloth
2-3 pears, diced
1 Tbsp.canola oil
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
2-3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until soft. While leeks are sauteing, place cinnamon stick, nutmeg, lemongrass, cardamom, ginger and chipotle in cheesecloth. Knot securely and set aside.
2. Add pumpkin, chestnuts, cheesecloth pouch, and water to pot. Water should cover squash by about 1-2 inches. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes or until pumpkin is very tender and falls apart. Remove soup from heat.
3. While soup is cooling, heat grapeseed oil in a saute pan over high heat. Add pears and saute for 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add maple syrup, cinnamon powder and balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes until pears are soft and vinegar has become syrupy and coats the pears. Set aside to cool.
4. Remove cheesecloth pouch from soup. Add maple syrup and 1 tsp. salt. With immersion or regular blender, puree soup until creamy. If soup appears too thick, add water to achieve desired consistency. Reheat and add additional salt to taste. Garnish with caramelized pears.
adapted from The Candle Cafe Cookbook