This bisque, known for a creamy texture and a balance of savory, sweet and spicy flavors, is an excellent starter dish for any autumn or winter dinner party or family reunion. A homemade soup doesn't have to require a lot of ingredients and an entire day to prepare. This soup has a beautiful bright color, is nutritious and requires simple kitchen materials.
Blending the Bisque
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the leeks and onions to saute until tender. Stir in flour.
Add chicken broth while stirring over medium heat until the mixture has thickened slightly. Stir in the pumpkin, vanilla, salt, pepper and the 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Let the mixture boil for about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat and cover. Continue to simmer for around 20 minutes, then take the pan off of the heat.
Let cool for a couple of minutes, then add the poached pear halves and pear liquid to the saucepan.
Pour everything into a food processor or blender (do this in batches of two or three if necessary). Blend until smooth, then return the liquid to the saucepan.
Add the half-and-half, stirring constantly on medium heat. Serve and garnish with another sprinkling of nutmeg if desired.
Poaching the Pears
Boil together 1 cup sweet white wine, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 whole star anise in a large skillet.
Throw in 6 ripe pears that have been peeled and halved. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while covered for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pears from the saucepan and set aside.
Bring to a boil the remaining liquid that is in the skillet until it has been reducing for about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the star anise.