Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Mark's Kitchen: Pear Squash Soup

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I thought Mark's little jar of measuring spoons was especially photogenic.

I am very excited to bring this recipe to you today, two days before Thanksgiving. Why? Because the flavors in this recipe are so very autumnal that you are all going to want to run out and purchase ingredients to make some of this as an addition to your Thanksgiving meal. A simple, tasty, autumnal addition. So let's get started on our next segment of In YOUR Kitchen.

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There's Mark, in the middle.

Today's chef is my friend Mark. Mark and I are work colleagues, where because we are always having different little get togethers where food is involved, I have had the pleasure of eating his cooking creations on more than one occasion. You last saw Mark at the State Fair, where, on team building day, I coerced my co-workers into standing with my award winning photo.

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The origin of the name - squash and pears. Imagine!

But, back to the soup. I've been the lucky recipient of this very soup on more than one occasion. And it's a real winner. And healthy, too! I asked Mark where he got the recipe. He said his wife Brenda used to make it. So he went to ask her where she got the recipe. And she said she thinks it came from a magazine, but years ago, and she's not sure which one or where. Mark added that one day he decided to make it and since then, Brenda doesn't make it anymore. It's become officially his dish.

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Some of the ingredients. Except the banana is not in the soup.
Yes, we have no bananas.

The ingredient list is short - butternut squash, pears, onion, curry powder, chicken broth, salt and pepper. That's it!

Start by cutting the ends off the squash.

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Then peel it.

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Mark says, "This ain't Rachel Ray, sister - it'll take a minute to finish this up."
There's no going to commercial when you're in someone else's kitchen!

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Then, while the peeling continues...

...notice the beautiful window right next to you is open. And dream of one day again living in a house with windows that open. I'm THANKFUL for windows that open, and for window screens. One of the world's best inventions!

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After it's peeled, cut it in half.

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And, if you're me, marvel at the fact that the seeds look like pumpkin seeds.
That nature, it'll get ya every time.

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Then core it with an ice cream scoop, the easiest tool for the job.

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Then cut it up into small chunks.

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And add it to your stock pot, which is patiently waiting for ingredients on the stove.

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Next, chop the onion into large-ish chunks.
That's a technical cooking term, of course.

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Add the onion to the stock pot.

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Then add in 1 tsp curry powder.

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Then cut the ends off the pears.

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And peel them.

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Then - you guessed it - core and chop!

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And into the pot with them!

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Last, add four cups of chicken broth.

Mark has used vegetable broth for this instead of chicken broth. If you're a strict vegetarian, use that. If you're a strict vegetarian, you probably don't need me to tell you about this possible substitution. If you're a meat eater, use the chicken broth, because Mark says it tastes better.

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Stir and turn up the heat to maximum until the mixture boils.

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Do a little kitchen cleaning instead of watching it constantly.
A watched pot never boils, don't you know...

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Then allow it to simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Mark says this is the best part of the recipe - that you get 25 minutes to go do something else. Of course, we sat and kvetched. And looked up the definition of mincemeat for his daughter Emma, who is reading Great Expectations for school and wanted to know. Did you know traditional mincemeat has suet in it? Do you know what suet is? Well, we had to look that one up, too. It's "the hard fatty tissue about the loins and kidneys of beef, sheep, etc., used in cooking"

Yeah. Not in my cooking. Nope. We decided that while that may be traditional, many people these days don't put that in their mincemeat pies - rather, they are just dried fruit pies. Or at least that's what we choose to believe. And, actually, that link up there will take you to a Wikipedia article that states most people just use some vegetable shortening these days. Amen to that.

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After twenty-five minutes, the mixture is cooked down and tender.

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Use your immersion blender if you have one to puree the ingredients.

If you don't have an immersion blender, go buy one. Heh heh. No, seriously, you could transfer the contents to your regular blender to puree. But, sister, those hand immersion blenders are mighty nice. Add it to your Christmas list.

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After pureed, add salt and pepper to taste.
Don't be shy with the pepper.

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And then you're ready to serve!

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Hoo-wee, it's a good one!

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Mark's Pear Squash Soup

1 butternut squash or 4-5 cups
1 medium onion
2 medium pears
1 tsp curry
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut ends off, peel and chop squash, onion and pears into small chunks and place in large stock pot. Add curry and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Puree mixture until a smooth consistency throughout. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

So there you have it! A wonderfully warm, soothing, tasty, healthy, autumnal recipe to add to your arsenal! Add it to the list for the Thanksgiving feast. You won't be sorry you did! Thanks, Mark, for allowing me to photograph your tasty soup creation.

Before we go today, I want to thank my newest (and really very seasoned) followers for joining the "Follower" ranks yesterday. It's nice to see some of my regulars showing up over there!

Also, this morning was the next diet weigh-in. After a slow 2.2 pound loss last week (actually a normal amount, but it was a little slow based on the weeks prior) - this week, I am excited to report that I have lost another 5.2 pounds for a total loss of 19.4 pounds!!! This is very exciting for me, as I hope to at least get to 25 pounds lost before Christmas and this still seems attainable. I mean, the week ahead will be rough on the diet, because I do intend to eat on Thanksgiving and any Thanksgiving related events. So, while I will still be dieting in between, it could be another low loss week. But, even with "slow" weeks, I should be able to make it to 25 by the time I go to Indiana. And that is exciting to me!

And, I cannot WAIT to start telling you about the thankfulness mail I've been receiving. What fun it has been to get to the mailbox every day! You should try mailing self addressed stamped envelopes to your friends and see the kind of mail you get back! What's more, the stuff on the cards are TERRIFIC and you're gonna love them. It's gonna be great!

Kindest regards for your Tuesday. See you tomorrow.


  1. I have always wondered how squash soup was made (nevermind that I never actually attempted to look up a recipe or find out). Thanks to you and Mark, I shall try it. Looks terrific.

  2. I LOVED THIS! You are a celebrity now Mark. Amy takes incredible photos. They are so beautiful, colorful and the blog was fun to read. You made my day!

    Happy Thanksgiving. Your soup will be divine.

  3. Mark's soup is yummy, I've enjoyed it several times.



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