Once you discover a good recipe, stick with it. Sure, you don't want to serve it to the same people all the time, but use it as a benchmark and only substitute when you must. I see so many new cooks, particularly the young ones, always trying something new and never sticking with a recipe they like for long. Don't make that mistake. You don't need a million recipes to be a good cook. Make and perfect a few good ones and soon enough, cooking will be a breeze. If you are entertaining, this is not the time to try something new. Stick to the old tried and true and only experiment with family or close friends.
This fabulous soup is one I used to make when I entertained in Florida and it always got rave reviews. It was my star soup of the Fall and I loved to serve it in small pumpkin shells for my Halloween dinner parties. Somehow I forgot all about it when I moved until I found it under some papers a couple of days ago. I feel as if I've had found a relic!
The combination of the pear and the coriander seed together with the pumpkin gives it an exquisite taste. No one will be able to guess what it is! Use coriander seed instead of powder In this case it will make a difference.
Tell me, do you have a favorite soup for the Fall?
yield: 8 servings
Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 45 min
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, finely chopped
3 large shallots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb fresh sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or 2 cups chicken broth mixed with 2 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Freshly ground mixed or black peppercorns
1 ripe Bartlett pear
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
finely chopped fresh cilantro and fresh chives
Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallions, shallots, and onion, stirring, until softened but not browned. Add pumpkin, potatoes, stock, sugar, coriander, salt, and pepper to taste, then simmer, covered, until pumpkin is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
While soup is simmering, peel and core pear and cut into 1-inch pieces. Stir pear into soup and remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes and pureé in a blender in batches, transferring to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids).
Return to pan and add butter. Reheat over moderate heat, stirring, until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper and, if desired, thin soup with water to desired consistency.
Cooks' note: •Soup may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.