A Perfect Fall Soup

There's something about soup. It cures a cold. The sniffles. Soothes a sore throat. And warms your heart and belly.

For Thanksgiving I made a pureed soup of butternut squash, leeks, pears and ginger. It was a fabulous way to start our turkey day feast. The lightness of the soup juxtaposed with the traditional heavy Thanksgiving dinner was sublime.

I even shared some of the soup with family that were stuck in the hospital for the holiday and they loved it as well. This soup is so good, healthy and easy, I want to share it with you, too, so I've made another batch, but changed things up a little.

What I love most about this recipe is that it is just veggies, fruit and water.

So, here it is. A perfect fall soup. Nutritious and delicious.

Buen provecho!
Butternut Squash, Pear and Apple Soup
The Cowgirl Gourmet (http://www.thecowgirlgourmet.blogspot.com/) adapted this recipe from Mark Bittman's website No Take Out (http://www.notakeout.com/) and they adapted this recipe from Peter Berley's Fresh Food Fast

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This soup is a great way to start a multiple course fall dinner as it is very light but still very satisfying. It could also be served as a light lunch or dinner with salad. While the original recipe calls for two pears, I used a pear and an apple for this version, but you can choose which fruit you'd like to use.

Serves 4-6

2 medium leeks
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 medium butternut squash
1 ripe Bartlett or Anjou pear (you could also use 2 pears and no apple)
1 apple
1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and diced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
Creme fraiche, sour cream or plain yogurt, for serving
Cinnamon, for garnish, optional
Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish, optional

Trim the root ends and most of the greens from the leeks. Cut them lengthwise, rinse well under cold water and slice thinly. Put them in a colander and rinse again. Drain thoroughly.

Peel the squash. Cut in half, scrape out the seeds and cut into 1-inch chunks. You should have about 4 cups of squash.

Core and chop the pear and/or apple. Peel and dice the ginger. (You can use a spoon to remove the skin of the ginger.) Grind or coarsely chop fennel seed.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, place 2 Tablespoons butter, Smart Balance or olive oil. Add the leeks and saute until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the squash, pear(s) and/or apple, fennel seed, salt and 5-6 cups of water to the stockpot. You want the water to cover the vegetables.

Increase the heat and once the water boils, reduce the heat so it simmers. Cook until the vegetables are soft and crush easily against the side of the pot, about 25 minutes.

Puree the soup until it is smooth, leaving a few chunks for texture. If it is too thick, thin it with either apple cider or a little bit of water. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, fill a bowl with soup and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche, sour cream or plain yogurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon or toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.
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