“Squashes, with their sturdy vines and vibrant blossoms, were my first foray into the world of gardening. They were patient teachers, showing me the magic of seeds sprouting and vines climbing towards the sun. Summer and fall/winter squash were my companions through the seasons, reliable and abundant, yielding a harvest that seemed to stretch as far as my young eyes could see.
As the years passed, my love for these versatile vegetables only grew. The garden flourished with their presence, and the pollinators danced in delight among the squash blossoms. Their varied shapes and sizes, from plump pumpkins to slender butternuts, became old friends.
One crisp autumn evening, armed with the knowledge passed down to me, I embarked on a culinary adventure, paying homage to the squashes that had been my steadfast companions. Roasting the pumpkins, I unleashed an intensity of flavor that would be the cornerstone of my autumn squash soup. The kitchen was alive with the earthy scent of roasting vegetables and memories of childhood mingled with the promise of a warm, comforting meal.
With careful precision, I blended a medley of squash varieties, allowing their distinct personalities to harmonize in a symphony of fall flavors. As the pot simmered, I added the final strokes to my masterpiece: creamy coconut milk and indulgent heavy cream swirled in, cocooning the concoction in a luxurious embrace.
As I ladled the velvety soup into bowls, I knew I held in my hands not only a warm, nourishing meal but also a piece of my history, a tribute to the garden that had been my sanctuary. It was a taste of the season, a sip of comfort, and a reminder that some traditions are meant to endure, carrying the essence of childhood wonder into the present.”
– Trace Barnett
Autumn Squash Soup (Serves 8 – 12)
1 medium butternut squash, 1 acorn squash, 1 small flat boer pumpkin
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium apple, chopped
1 radish, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup-1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup -1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings: toasted pumpkin seeds, croutons, a drizzle of heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (190°C)
- Prepare the Squash: Cut the squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, cut side up.
- Roast the Squash: Drizzle olive oil over the squash halves and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Squashes should yield 4 1/2 cups cooked flesh.
- Sauté Vegetables and Garlic: While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrot, and radish. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add Spices: Stir in the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for another minute to toast the spices.
- Scoop out Squash: Once the squash is done, let it cool slightly. Then, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and add it to the pot with the onions and spices.
- Blend and Simmer: Pour in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Blend the Soup: Using an immersion blender or by transferring the soup in batches to a regular blender, carefully blend the mixture until smooth and creamy.
- Add Coconut Milk (or Cream): Return the soup to the pot and stir in the coconut milk (or heavy cream if you prefer a richer soup). Warm the soup gently over low heat.
- Season and Serve: Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot, garnished with your choice of toppings