It's that time of year again. The smells of dry leaves, rain, and all things comforting and warm; soup, cookies, muffins, hot chocolate, and apple cider. Along with spring, autumn is my favorite season. The only complaint that I have is that it can be a short season here in Minnesota. Sometimes we go from a very hot summer and early fall right into snow and seem to skip right over the loveliness that this season has to offer. This year, things are looking good. It's nearly October, the leaves are turning, and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors.
This year my family planted pumpkins in the front yard. Although we started out with 4 varieties of squash, only one took off. It's a good thing too because that one plant has pretty much taken over the entire front yard, We've been enjoying the very large Cinderella Pumpkins off of it for a little over a month now. They are roughly 15-20# apiece and have a rather mild flesh that is not overly sweet. We were also able to grow a few butternut squash. Add all of those to the few we get in our CSA box this time of year, we are drowning in squash! Good think they store well and that we all love everything pumpkin.
Lately my go-to recipes are coconut flour pumpkin muffins and pumpkin soup. I accidentally came up with a new way of cooking pumpkin one day when I just didn't feel like cleaning the bacon pan. Nearly every morning my husband cooks breakfast that includes bacon. We typically just jar up the fat and use it to fry with, but on that particular day, it just laid there in the cookie sheet, and all I could think about was finding a way to avoid washing another dish before I began making dinner. I decided to forego my usual method of baking squash flesh-side down in water, and instead placed the squash flesh- side down in bacon fat. You. Must. Do. This. The result was a caramelized and sweet tasting flesh that lends itself well to soup but also to muffins and donuts (recipes coming soon). So without further ado, here is my new favorite Pumpkin Soup recipe.
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5TB bacon fat (or coconut oil)
1/2 large pumpkin or 2 medium sized butternut squash, halved and seeded
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped and left to rest for 10 minutes)
1.5 curry powder (or to taste
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
6 cups broth or water
*Optional: pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, chili powder for garnish
Baking the Squash
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Melt 4TB bacon fat in cookie sheet
3. Place squash flesh-side down on cookies sheet
4. Bake squash for 1 hour or until fork can easily pierce the skin
Making the Soup
1. Melt 1 TB bacon fat in 4qt soup pot
2. Add onions and saute until soft
3. Add chopped garlic**
4. Scoop baked pumpkin into pan and cover with broth or water
5. Use immersion blender to combine all ingredients
6. Add curry, salt, and pepper and stir.
7. Allow flavors to combine for at least 15 minutes.
** I just finished reading the book Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. She states that to get all of the wonderful benefits of garlic, that it must be chopped and allowed to rest for 10 minutes before it's cooked. I highly recommend this book to anyone who eats food. It conveys, in the most easy to understand way, the varieties of vegetables, fruits, and legumes to select for the biggest bang for your buck as well as the best way to prepare those foods to retain that nutrition.