Apples, Soups

Autumn Soups

To everything there is a season. A time for beet greens, a time for peas. A time for strawberries, a time for peaches. And a time for squash, potatoes, apples, brussels sprouts, turnips and pumpkins. That time seemed to come early this year, right on the heels of the most glorious summer I can remember. Was it the time off I took thanks to my ever-so-competent gals in the kitchen, Alexis and Annette? Was it the fact that nearly every weekend, the weather was perfect? The new garden and the chicks in the laundry room that grew up to be the chickens running around the backyard? Living the summer in food and sharing it with you? Writing this has given me the opportunity to really reflect on the abundance and variety grown in our magnificent Valley (and Mountains!)

Sure, I haven’t touched on all the things we can do with broccoli, and I missed peppers and eggplant completely. That’s ok, because we’re going to be together for a long time, right?
Nothing says autumn to me like soup. Summer can be hell in a restaurant kitchen, but when the temperature drops fifteen degrees and there’s an avalanche of squash and apples at your delivery door, there’s nothing like cozying up to the beastly stove and cooking up some love-in-a-bowl.
That’s my boy, harvesting Sunflower seeds!

Butternut Squash Soup with Curry Spices

2 T. Butter
2 Onions, diced
6 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 t. Mild Curry Powder
1 t. Garam Masala (or substitute cinnamon)
1 Butternut Squash (about 2-3 lbs), peeled and cut in 2″ chunks OR 3 lbs. Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut in 2″ chunks
1 T. Salt
2 T. Maple Syrup (or more, to taste)
2 C. Milk, Cream or plain Soymilk
Cashews, Yogurt and Chopped Cilantro for serving (optional)Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for about ten minutes, stirring often, until fully softened and beginning to caramelize.  Add the garlic and cook another minute, then add the curry powder and garam masala.  Stir and cook for about thirty seconds to release the delicious toasty flavours of the curry spices, then add the squash and enough water to just cover.  Add the salt and crank the heat to high.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium high and simmer about twenty minutes, until the squash has fully softened and is falling apart.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or let it cool a little before blending it (in small batches, with a towel covering the lid and being super-duper careful) in a blender.  Add the maple syrup and milk and whisk to combine.  Taste for salt and add some pepper if you like.  Serve steaming in bowls with the optional garnishes if you like.  Extra yum credit: add a small dollop of mango chutney-we sell a good handmade one at the Berwick Farmer’s Market!

Apple Cheddar Porter Soup

2 T. Butter
1 Onion, diced
3 Apples, cut into chunks (no need to peel) Boates is a good source in the Valley
1/4 C. Flour

2 t. Salt

6 C. Chicken or Vegetable Stock
12 oz Porter or your favourite ale (Propeller Brewery is my all-time favourite)
1 C. Grated Cheddar
1/2 C. Cream or Milk
1/2 t. Pepper
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for about five minutes, until starting to soften.  Add the apples and stir and cook for another five minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour and salt and cook for a minute, then whisk in the stock and porter. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.  Simmer until the apples have softened and are falling apart.  Remove the pot from the heat and blend the soup until smooth with an immersion blender (regular blender=yikes, unless you let the soup cool first).  Place the pot back over low heat and add the cream and the cheese.  Whisk until the cheese has melted, then add the pepper and taste, adding a little more salt if necessary.