Autumn flavors of pumpkin and pear complement each other in this hearty soup. No sweetener or cream is necessary, as the roasting brings out the pumpkin's sweetness, and the pear amplifies it. I use chicken stock, but for a vegetarian version, you could use vegetable stock. You can also easily alter the seasoning to your liking (perhaps ginger, cinnamon, clove & allspice, if you like a sweeter version); I use mood-lifting sage and some ground pepper here to round out the fall flavors with a savory kick. This makes a full pot of soup and is great for freezing for future use. Happy Fall! —laura
a whole pot for enjoying now & freezing for the colder months
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Carefully split open the pumpkins and cut into smaller wedges (5-6 for each pumpkin). Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until skins peel back easily but pumpkin is still a golden orange. Let cool and then peel away the skins and chop the pumpkin coarsely.
In a dutch oven or large pot, melt the butter on low to medium heat and add the shallots. Stir and let cook for a few minutes, then add the pear. When shallots and pear are softened, add half the stock and the chopped roasted pumpkin and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, letting the pumpkin break down. Let cool slightly, then blend in batches in a blender and return to the pot; cook on low. Add the remaining broth and seasonings a bit at a time, tasting after each addition and checking for desired consistency. For a velvety texture, simmer again for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle into bowls and serve with additional pepper & seasonings, if desired.