A while ago I alluded to a particular new crush of mine. You probably thought my new love affair with pears was just that: an intense but fleeting moment of adoration. I don’t blame you. I went on and on about varieties and cooking techniques and hinted about pears taking over an entire week’s menu. Maybe I got you excited about pears too? That was my plan, anyway.

But I was only able to share one recipe with you before eggs took over. Totally justified because it was all for a good cause, and I do love eggs. But I really want to get back to those pears. Pears so sweet and juicy that they can only be eaten while standing over the sink, lestĀ  you desire nectar dribbling down your chin. Pears that are crisp and just sweet enough to add a touch of sugar to peppery meats and stinky cheese. Little pears and big ones, pears the colors of rubies and peridots; this most versatile fruit deserves a boost on autumn’s ladder of choice seasonal produce.

It’s no secret that I like a little sweet with my spicy, savory food, so pearing my favorite autumn (or all the time) vegetable which is sweet and creamy on its own with pears and chorizo sausage was one of the first things that came to mind. I love all winter squash and don’t discriminate, but I chose buttercup for this dish because it doesn’t need to be peeled, and it has the most sweet-potato-like taste and texture of all the varieties, in my mind. A bright, crisp Anjou pear would hold its shape against the heat of sauteing, and add just the right amount of honey-tinted contrast. If my poached eggs look a little funny to you, it’s because I finally accepted my inability to poach multiple eggs on demand and ordered a couple sets of these poach pods, a nifty gadget that does the trick for me.

I had high hopes for this meal except for one little thing: the risk I decided to take in purchasing Trader Joe’s soy chorizo sausage. I don’t typically have pork in my house and I was curious about this vegan alternative, even though I’m not usually the biggest fan of meat substitutes. It turns out I had nothing to worry about! The soy chorizo sausage has a crumbly texture reminiscent of the real thing; it’s not overly chewy or tasting of soy at all. It’s intensely seasoned, and a little goes a long way to flavor a dish (as you’ll see in the ingredient list, I didn’t have to add much of anything in the way of seasonings.) On top of all that? It’s really cheap, too. I wouldn’t have been very disappointed if it hadn’t worked out; but on the contrary, I couldn’t wait to buy more (and yes, there areĀ  a couple more recipes up that sleeve of mine.)

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Pear, Butternut Squash and Chorizo Hash

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1lb peeled, diced butternut squash
1 large pear, peeled, cored and diced
6 oz soy chorizo sausage, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander
poached or fried eggs for serving, optional

Directions:

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Saute onions until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the squash in a covered, microwavable dish with 1 tablespoon of water. Cook on high for 3 minutes, until just tender.

Add the squash, pears, chorizo, cinnamon and coriander to the skillet with the onions. Increase heat to medium high and cook for 5-8 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until heated through and browned.

Serve hot with poached or fried eggs, if desired.

Nutrition Facts:

Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 218.6
Total Fat 10.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 465.6 mg
Potassium 526.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.9 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Protein 7.7 g

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com

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