The Leaves They Are A Changin’
Autumn is upon us. The air has just begun to take on the faint smell of decaying leaves, and even on warm days the afternoon light is a shade cooler than it was a month ago. It’s rare in this part of the country for seasons to make a gradual change, it seems to happen overnight.
I suppose Autumn is my favourite time of year where fashion and soup are concerned. We can layer sweaters and jackets not suitable for snow storms and wear beautiful leather boots instead of Sorels without fearing salt stains and the like. Similarly, we can layer creams, oils, seeds and spices, in root stews or soups with end of the season harvested veggies.
There are a number of delectable things you can do with a ripe squash and though soup appears an obvious choice, it never fails to satisfy on a crisp fall day as I watch the leaves leaving.
Curry Squash Soup with Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Maple Crema
For the Soup:
1 medium acorn squash, quartered (may use 2 butternut squash)
1 medium buttercup squash, quartered
1 shallot, diced
1 1/2 Tablespoons gingerroot, minced
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice mix
1 Tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 can coconut milk
4 cups each milk and vegetable stock
zest and juice of 2 limes
kosher salt and olive oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
For the Candied Pumpkin Seeds:
1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice mix
pinch of cayenne
1 Tablespoon water
For the Maple Crema:
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
4 Tablespoons whipping cream
juice of 1 lime
Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a tin foil lined baking sheet lay out sliced squash, brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for up to an hour or until squash is soft and golden.
In a pan over medium heat, sauté shallot and ginger in a small bit of oil for about 5 minutes. Add the dry spices and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove the skin of the squash and place the flesh into a large pot along with shallot/ginger spice mix, coconut milk, milk and vegetable stock. Simmer for 30 minutes and stir frequently. Add the lime juice, zest and brown sugar. Taste to see if more seasoning is required. Puree soup until creamy and smooth.
While the soup is simmering preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl toss pumpkin seeds with the sugar and spices. Drizzle the water in the bowl and mix to combine well. Spread the pumpkin seed mixture out on a parchment lines tray and bake for 5-6 minutes.
For the crema, combine sour cream, maple syrup, whipping cream, and lime juice. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
When serving top with maple crema and candied pumpkin seeds.
Serves 6-8 people
Recipe attributed to Kenny Kaechele, chef at Sociale as seen in Sept/Oct City Palette
Photos by Maggie Murphy