Lake Country Land School Photo
by Andy Gaertner
A Good Day for Soup
After the debates did you feel beat up, discouraged, let down? Did you pull the covers way over your head like me? Or is it the weather I'm huddling from? This nasty election is racing towards us, the first in a series of winter storms, none of them kind.
If the best defense is a good offense, then a big bowl of steaming squash soup is just the thing to fend off the demons. Spicy, comforting, goddamned honest, homemade soup from homegrown pumpkins and an onion or two. I start with stock made from vegetable scraps and roast a sweet pie pumpkin that's just out of the fields. These look like mini-Jack-O-Lanterns, but they are denser and tastier and the shells make a pretty little bowl you can serve the soup in. Any old squash -- butternut, acorn, turban, delicata -- will do. Right now, they're all especially tasty because they're so fresh. The skins are tender, they cook quickly and their flavors are sweet and true. This recipe is flexible and open to interpretation. If you're not fond of curry then season the soup with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon, or give it a Mexican twist with chile and cumin. It is easily doubled and can be frozen for later; best to have extra for when the election is over and we are calf-deep in snow.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk with leaves, finely chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons curry good quality curry powder, or more to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
1 sweet pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped scallions and cilantro
In a deep heavy soup pot, warm the oil and cook the onion and celery until very soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the squash and cook until the squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk, cider and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with chopped scallions and cilantro.