It's Pear Season! A Great Late-Summer Recipe for those Farmer's Market Pears.

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It's Pear Season! A Great Late-Summer Recipe for those Farmer's Market Pears.

The pears are here, the pears are here!

I just saw the first of the season last Saturday at the farmer’s market, and excited I am!  Last year, for the first time I canned up many different kinds of jams, jelly’s and butters. 

But none could compare to the delicate smooth Pear Butter that I made at the end of the season.  Dolloped over a piece of crusty bread toasted with butter…mmmmm, the silky smoothness could not be beat.

As I was looking through old cooking magazines tonight, I came across the first magazine that catalyzed my love for cooking and all things food: the Eating Well Magazine October issue in 2003.  So with fondness tonight I leafed through that magazine’s soiled pages, and then moved on to an issue from 2006, which includes this pear recipe that I will share with you here.

Pears are so versatile because they are just as good cooked as they are raw.  They lend themselves equally to savory as well as sweet dishes, and are never overpowering.  If you like this soup, then you may also like a desert of simply baking halved pears with a little maple syrup drizzled on top of each half, and a pat of butter with chopped walnuts in each core.  Don’t forget to sprinkle with cinnamon before baking as well!

Chinese Medicine medicinal properties of pears

Medicinally, pears are moistening to the body and help lubricate and soften the stools, as well as lubricate the lungs for dry chronic cough. Because they are cooling, people who are excessively cold should not overdo pears or any fruit; however, cooking them as in this recipe or in the desert suggestion above, will definitely mitigate their cooling properties. Pears tonify the Qi and Blood, Clear heat, subdue yang, produce fluids, lubricate dryness, and transform sputum for coughs.  Asian pears are particularly known for their ability to help with cough due to common colds of the heat type (thick yellow or green phlegm).

Butternut squash, also included in the recipe, is one of the best foods we can eat at this time of year.  It is warming, it nourishes the digestive system and therefore aids in the building of Qi, it nourishes blood, removes stagnant blood, heals inflammation, and is an analgesic. 

Those with “damp” conditions should omit the cheese.

(update: since going paleo I do not recommend cheese nor bread for spreading the yummy pear butter… :-( If you have great ideas for pear butter besides bread, let me know!)

Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup with Crumbled Stilton

(For the full recipe including notes, see this recipe online)

2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered, and cored ~ 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks ~ 2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered ~ 1 large leek, pale green and white parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced and washed thoroughly ~ 2 garlic cloves, crushed ~ 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil ~ 1/2 tsp salt, divided ~ freshly ground pepper to taste ~ 4 cups veggie broth or chicken broth, divided ~ 2/3 cup stilton or other blue cheese ~ 1 tbs thinly sliced chives or scallion greens

1) Preheat oven to 400 

2) Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leek, garlic, oil, 1/2 the salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl and toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally until the veggies are tender, 40-55 minutes. Let cool slightly

3) Place half the veggies and 2 cups broth in a blender and puree til smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the remaining veggies and 2 cups broth. Add to the pan and stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp salt.

4) Cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring, until hot, about 10 minutes. Divide among the 6 bowls and garnish with cheese and chives or scallion greens.

Enjoy with good friends and some candlelight to enhance the flavors even more! (addition mine…) :-)