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September 24, 2012

Get Crockin’: Creamy Butternut Pear Soup

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

When it's time for dinner, it's comforting to know you've got it covered with a slow cooker dish started earlier in the day.

"The best thing about slow cookers is that you fix the food, walk away and it's ready when you want it," says Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, co-author of Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking .

I couldn't agree more, so I tried Kitty's Creamy Butternut Pear Soup to kill two birds with one stone: work in more vegetables and fruits at dinner, and satisfy my craving for a creamy, seasonal soup. It pairs well with grilled chicken, beef, or pork.

This soup requires little fuss and yields maximum satisfaction, so give it a try.  I used pre-cut fresh squash for convenience, omitted the Kosher salt and garlic salt (because I didn't have any garlic salt!), and it was still delicious. My kids loved it, which is a big plus for me.

Creamy Butternut Pear Soup
Serves 4 (about 1 3/4 cups each)

1 tablespoon butter
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ripe pears, any variety, cored and chopped (no need to peel)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Hood Half & Half
2 tablespoons snipped, fresh chives (optional)
1/4 cup Hood Sour Cream (optional)

Coat the inside of the slow cooker crock with the butter (leave the excess in the crock.) Add the carrots and squash to the crock. Sprinkle the onions and pears on top.

Whisk together the broth and the spices.  Pour the mixture over the vegetables and pears in the crock (do not stir).

Cover and cook 8-10 hours on LOW (or 4-5 hours on HIGH).

Add the half & half to the crock and stir to combine. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Alternatively, you can puree the soup in a food processor or blender (but be careful because the soup will be very hot).

To serve, divide between bowls and garnish each portion with a sprinkling of chives, a tablespoon of sour cream, or both, if desired.

Recipe adapted with permission.

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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