Butternut Squash and Pear Soup with Garam Masala
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium onion, diced
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika or Aleppo pepper
1 medium butternut squash (1 1/4 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pears (I used Bosc), peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 quart vegetable stock, or water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 sprig thyme
1 cup coconut milk
Freshly ground pepper
1. In a 5-quart heavy bottomed pot, over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add and sweat the onions, 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and let infuse for 1 minute. Add the garam masala and the paprika and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the squash and the pears, cook for 2 minutes. Add in the stock, the salt, and thyme. Bring everything to a simmer, and cook until squash is fork-tender about 20 minutes. Discard the thyme.
2. Puree, in batches if necessary, in a blender until silky-smooth. Return to the pot and stir in coconut milk. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of your best olive oil.