Nov 12, 2015
Delicata-Sweet Potato-Apple Soup with Pomegranate Pear Relish + Maple Roasted Pecans
Abundance. That’s what fall means to me. And being thankful… we all need more of that. When I think of fall, I am reminded of a season of giving, nurturing and—for me—introspection. It’s a time of conserving and, like the trees, “folding in” and recharging during the winter.
As a food blogger, I am in my glory with the earthy delights of winter squashes, the tangy sweetness of pomegranates and tangerines, the crunch of a freshly picked apple and all of the surrounding colors that mirror these healthy gifts from nature. How fortunate are we to live in these times when a trip to the grocery store can yield so many different kinds of fruits and vegetables from across the world at any time of the year.
Of course there are some foods that do only show up at the markets in the fall and that’s when I love to partake of these seasonal delights. One such player is the delicata squash with its subtle, sweet yet earthy notes. Another is pomegranate with its ruby arils that remind me always of stained glass windows in a church… nature’s art.
Okay, moving on to this recipe before I wax myself poetic into another universe! Soup. Another delight of the cooler season. But this soup is in a world of its own… it is soooooo creamy and thick. It could pass for a purée! Its velvety texture will have you swooning. For having so few ingredients, the flavors are layered and deep; nutty, sweet, sour, astringent and some kind of underlying smoky flavor which, truthfully, I have no idea how that happened. Then there is the tangy relish and the maple-pecan garnish… more flavor and amazing texture. This soup would be great on any Thanksgiving table. I hope you’ll try it. Abundance in a bowl…
~ for the soup
- 2 medium-sized delicata squash
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 1½ cups spiced apple cider
- ½ cup cashews + ¾ cup water
~ for the relish
- 1 anjou pear
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- 1 TBS orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest (make sure it’s organic!)
- ½ cup raw pecans
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 TBS pure maple syrup
- 1 TBS coconut sugar or any minimally-processed granulated sweetener
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the squashes in half, lengthways and scoop out the seeds (I always save my seeds for planting).
- Place the squashes, face up, onto the baking sheet.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes in a few places with a fork and place them on the same baking sheet.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, until both the potatoes and the squash are fork-tender.
- Let cool until you can handle them and scoop out their flesh. Place in a food processor with the cider and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a pot over very low heat.
- Place the cashews and water in a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak the cashew first for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Add the cashew cream to the soup and heat on low until hot. Be careful! Since the mixture is so thick, it can “blubble” up. Stir often as it’s heating to prevent this.
- To make the relish, simply dice the pears and toss with the remaining ingredients.
- To make the maple pecans, combine all ingredients in small bowl and toss to coat. Spread pecans on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350° F until the sugar is caramelized. You may want to check them at 15 minutes… they can overcook easily and burn. Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes and break apart any nuts that have stuck together. I chopped mine for the garnish.
- Serve the soup topped with the relish and the pecans and be prepared for a taste sensation!