Here I am, late but present for this month’s blogparty hosted by Dreamseeds
Ever since the cold weather came, complete with ice, rain and chilling winds, we’ve been brewing many pots of Ginger tea and long cooked bone broths on our antique wood stove in the cabin’s cozy little kitchen. The glass herb jars that line the wooden shelves are filled to the brim with an abundance of herbs, spices, seaweeds, mushrooms and other tasty ingredients for cold weather cooking.
I love how this season invites a three day cooking of apples, making for the most luscious, rich sauce imaginable, even with only a touch of sugar as the concentrated juices become sweeter and deeper with time and heat. And how marinated mushrooms simmer away on a corner of the stove, resulting in a smoky, savory taste that perfectly complements thick stews. In a special double lidded ceramic pot, Reishi mushrooms long decoct for one of my most vital medicines, and in a round black clay vessel, Ginger, Rosehips and Elderberries blend into a delicious, warming brew. In the oven, a golden homegrown squash bubbles and softens, nearly ready to be added to the stew, and a few jars of Sage and Larrea slowly infuse into golden oil in the warming drawer.
Outside, a few greens are still growing, and we pick Arugula and Rosemary for small salads and ample bowls of turkey stew. Many of the plants are still growing, but slowly. As the river roars between her muddy banks, I dig a few roots an admire the flowers of brazen Vervain, still blooming despite the freezing weather.
Here’s one of Loba and I’s favorite creamy squash soups, and it’s just lovely topped with a sprinkle of ground Acorns and a swirl of sour cream. And as a note, for those of you who love the recipes posted on this blog, many of them (including this one) are derived from my partner Loba’s Enchanted Pantry cookbook, which will soon be available in self published form, someday in commercial published form and for now, as a .doc for those who’d like to help proof the recipes, since every now and then Loba leaves an ingredient or two out of the recipe accidentally. If you’d like a test copy, just let me know and I’ll email it to you.
Creamy Winter Squash Soup
2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 cup half & half (or milk)
3 cups baked or steamed squash (butternut, acorn, kabocha, or a sweet pumpkin all work well)
nutmeg, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
butter for garnish
Cut or scoop the beautiful orange squash flesh from its shell. Place into a good sized pot and mash well with a potato masher. If the mush seems too stringy you can put it through a food mill (or an electric blender, if you insist). Pour in the chicken broth and enough water to bring to a pleasing thickness. Raise to a boil, and simmer until some of the water has boiled out and the soup is slightly too thick. Add the half & half and bring back up to a simmer. Remove from the fire and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and brown sugar, to taste. Serve in warm bowls with butter and homemade bread. I love a salad of bitter greens and raspberry vinaigrette on the side. This soup also makes a great hearty breakfast, especially pleasing with the sautéed apples, maple syrup and sour cream variations, and served with bread or French toast. We’ve even had it for dessert!
Optional Tasty Garnishes:
•toasted pecans or walnuts
•toasted or roasted garlic
•extra sharp cheddar or Parmesan
•extra virgin olive oil
•pure maple syrup
•sour cream or yogurt