How ‘Bout Some Pumpkin Soup?
This is my all-time favorite soup, and I only make it in the autumn because that’s when I can find the best tasting squash or pumpkins. I look forward to this soup, and I savor it.
Here’s what you’ll need. Remember—this soup, by nature, is very forgiving. Put in a little more of the ingredients you like, and a little less of the ones you don’t. Use any kind of milk you enjoy. It’s good to be creative in the kitchen. The worst thing that will happen is that you will make a dud!
And—believe it or not, some of my worst culinary duds have actually been enjoyed by members of my family!
2 onions chopped up small
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
2 acorn squash, butternut, or even a small pumpkin
4 sweet potatoes
2 white potatoes
5 carrots sliced
2 apples peeled, cored, and sliced
maple syrup to taste
dash of cinnamon and cardamom
4 pats butter
1 tablespoon any kind of flour
salt to taste
2 cups milk (I have used cow milk or soy or almond)
The key to a good squash soup is to bake the squash, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes and to not rush them along. With pumpkin or squash, I will cut in half, take out the seeds and bake face down on a cookie sheet. Toast those seeds if you think of it—delish!
Sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil until clear. Add the carrots and apples and cook until soft.
Once the squash and potatoes are soft, let cool, peel, and put innards into the pot with the other simmering veggies. Let it all meld.
Make a roux: melt the butter in a skillet. Add the flour (I use oat flour or spelt, but most flours will do). With a fork, mix in the butter and the flour until the flour is slightly brown. Add one cup milk and keep stirring—the milk will thicken right up. When it’s thick, add the other cup of milk. When that thickens up again, add to the veggies.
I use an in-pot mixer, but you can also use a blender. Blend it all until the desired degree of smoothness. Add the maple syrup, dashes of cinnamon and cardamom, and salt to taste.
Serve warm with a good piece of bread. I like to garnish with a thick slice of dried pear. This year, I dried lots of red pears with the skin on and it looks so pretty!
I am attaching here a poem from a few years back. I find this soup delicious but also a little sad—maybe because it’s a harbinger of winter to come. Nonetheless, this soup always leaves me feeling warm.
Ode to the Pumpkin
I had a perfectly lovely dinner tonight,
Sitting by the window, alone in my sweater
I had a bowl of pumpkin soup,
a sad melancholy color, the flavor
poignant as it spread on my tongue.
I thought of the jolly pumpkin, with a persimmon blush
who had offered up seeds to roast, just last week.
Then was off holding small votives
as our gap-toothed lantern,
with a jaunty fedora and a glimmer in his eye,
greeting dinner guests, at the top of the porch
winking at pretty women in their woolens and scarves!
He was cooked on low, languishing in the oven
I could smell the browning juices as they skittered across the pan,
pooling in the trenches of the speckled black enamel
And as his flesh softened and his tender skin gave way,
all at once, that dashing fellow collapsed in the heap.
I cut away a section and there rose a final gasp
steam-scented like a man, clean and fresh from the sauna,
I scooped orange tissue from his lined and peeling hide, and
stringy organs lifted from his now deflated belly.
Soup ingredients simmered in the pot, indistinct and melding.
The wide-mouthed vessel swallowed the pumpkin mash
no more jolly fellow,
sporting a fedora.
No, now he was stewing together
with onion, apples, and broth—
blended up splendid to that melancholy soup
With a splash of cinnamon and what was that?
Cardamom. Ah! Lovely my dear, just the thing!