Butternut Squash and Pear soup . . .

This is a wonderful recipe for starting an intimate dinner or a great fall pick-up after a long walk enjoying the colors.

canola oil/butter
1 clove garlic (smashed with skin on)
3 lbs diced butternut squash
nutmeg to taste (I was generous)
2 medium sweet onions (diced)
2 large cooking carrots (diced)
2 tbsp fresh peeled and chopped ginger
10 black peppercorns
8 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken broth
3 cups pear juice
salt and pepper to taste
4 large ripe pears pealed, cored and chopped (+ one for presentation)

Dice squash, toss with oil and nutmeg in a bowl
Dice onions and carrots and add to bowl.
Add smashed garlic and ginger and toss

Place remaining oil and butter in a large soup pot and melt. Add ingredients in bowl and 1 cup chicken stock over medium heat for 15 minutes.
Add four cups chicken stock, pears, pear juice, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves and over medium heat   bring to boil.   Turn down to simmer 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and smashed garlic clove. Purée in batches returning to clean pot.

Add cream to taste and simmer 15 minutes.

Serve with very thin slice of pear on top and sprinkle top blooms of fresh thyme sprigs. Diagonally slice bagette, toast lightly and rub with another smashed garlic clove.