Dixie Grimes' Roasted Pear and Zucchini Soup
8 ripe yet firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut in 1-inch slices
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 to 7 medium zucchini, diced (8 cups)
2 Tbsp. Pernod
8 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought, or vegetable stock
2 cups apple juice
1 Tbsp. honey
2 cups fresh spinach
¼ cup pear or apple butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground anise or ground fennel
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. granulated onion
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. white pepper
4 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Toss the pears in 4 tablespoons of the oil and spread them out flat on the baking sheet. Roast until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Set aside to let cool.
• In an 8-quart stockpot set over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the pears, onions and shallots and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the Pernod and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and apple juice and bring to a simmer. Add the honey, spinach, pear butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anise, granulated garlic, granulated onion, mustard, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and white pepper. Simmer for 1 hour.
• Remove the pan from the heat, and using an immersion blender or working in batches with a regular blender, purée until smooth. Add the cream and bring the soup back to a low simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cold butter.
• Serve hot. The soup can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 days.