There are unusual flavors at play here. Pears, squash, vanilla, apple cider vinegar. Yet it comes together deliciously.

3 T butter or vegetable oil
6 c peeled, chopped Butternut or other winter squash
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
4 – 5 c stock or broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 T vanilla extract
1 c yogurt or sour cream
roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, for garnish, optional

1. Melt the butter or heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the squash, pears, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 – 15 minutes, until the onion is very soft and the pears are falling apart.

2. Add the vinegar and bring to the boil, stirring to loosen any bits of vegetable on the bottom of the pot. Add the stock or broth and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

4. Purée the soup, either with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor, transferring purée to another pot as you do so. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the vanilla extract. Cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or so.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt. Taste for seasonings and serve, garnished with toasted seeds if you like.