As the calendar turns toward the end of October, the pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns remind me of Harry Potter. As I’ve shared in previous posts, I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, reading the entire series at least 10 times (enough so the books fell apart!) and knowing most of the movies by heart.
2 classes Harry took at Hogwarts School of Wichcraft & Wizardry were Potions and Herbology. Soups can be a warming potion on these chilly fall days, while herbs add a savory spin to please our palate. At our house, we use pumpkins more for decorating, finding other types of winter squash more flavorful to eat.
The summer heat and rain set perfect conditions for our garden to produce an abundance of squash and pumpkins this year. My husband planted 10 hills and we ended up with enough to fill about 2 pallet boxes! We donated 1 box to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, kept about 1/3 box for ourselves, gave away 1/3 and there was about 1/3 box that was nibbled on by something (maybe the cats or squirrels?) before they were ready to be harvested. They went to the pigs and chickens.
This is the 2nd time we’ve planted this particular squash variety, North Georgia Candy Roaster Pink Banana, and we got well over 40 fruits from 4 plants. We’ve discovered, not only does it taste good, the skin is much softer than other winter squash varieties. We are able to eat the skin, much like a sweet potato or tomato. This saves time and effort, as there is no need to scrape the flesh away from the skin.
Our garden has been all but done for a few weeks now, but we are still harvesting good leaks. Leeks look like really thick, overgrown green onions. They are in the onion family, but have a milder flavor–perfect for soups. I like to use them with squash soup as they compliment the other flavors, rather than overpower them.
Switching it up with Herbs
This recipe is super simple. It takes a long time to cook the squash, but the process itself is easy. There are a variety of herbs and spices you could use with this soup. I infused this version with sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley. You could use a Indian/Nepali inspired mix using cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger & cardamom. You could also use just salt & pepper. Endless possibilities!
Experimenting with different herbs can breathe new life into any recipe. Using differnt herb mixtures allows me to eat this squash soup once a week without feeling like I’m eating the same thing for weeks on end. I added 2 lbs of browned, ground turkey to make this soup into a hearty stew. Other cooked meat, beans or tofu could also be added.
Be creative and Enjoy!
What are some of your favorite herbs and spices?