By Chef Vitaly Paley

“This soup is so easy to make, I feel like I’m getting away with something by using water instead of stock. Water lets the squash speak more loudly and realize its full potential in this soup. Pears, winter squash and apple cider all appear on farmers stands at about the same time. Their varying degrees of sweetness have a natural affinity for one another when combined. The addition of curry powder to this soup conjures up images of genies and magic carpets while keeping flavors firmly local.

I always season long preparations like soups or stews at the beginning of the cooking and adjust to taste at the end. By seasoning early in the process the salt and pepper have a chance to get absorbed more evenly for a more balanced and uniform flavor throughout.”

Makes 6 Cups

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion peeled, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, scraped and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large pear (such as Bosc) peeled, halved, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Crème fraîche
  • Dill fronds for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a 6 quart soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, stirring frequently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and pear, season with salt and pepper. Decrease the heat to low and cook stirring occasionally until the squash softens up and caramelizes a bit, about 15 minutes. 

Add the curry powder and continue stirring for 1 minute to bloom the curry flavor. Pour in the apple cider. Raise the heat back to medium, add water, and simmer until the squash is completely cooked through, about 30 minutes. 

Finally, stir in the cream and bring the soup back up to a simmer. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully liquefy the hot soup by batches in the blender. Pour the soup into bowls, garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and dill fronds. 

This soup can be made a day in advance chilled and kept refrigerated overnight.