Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup
Category: Soups & Salads | Blog URL: http://www.samanthagianulis.com/2009/10/great-pumpkin-soup.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
This year during the field trip to the pumpkin patch, it was not over 100 degrees like the previous year. But it was warm. Sun beating down on you in your sweater that you need to take off kind of warm. I hope we're not sweating in our Halloween costumes kind of warm. Sneezing when you look into the sun kind of warm.
Would I have enjoyed the field trip with my child more if it were overcast with a slight drizzle, if the landscape had more trees than chaparral, if there were creaky, haunted, antebellum Victorian houses within a few square miles? Maybe.
So I went to that fictitious, pastoral autumn place in my mind.
It was late afternoon, after the filed trip and everyone was home from school. I raked leaves in the front yard while the kids did their homework, and the apple crisp finished baking in the oven. There was a thunderstorm brewing as I dusted off my faded jeans and sable wool sweater and walked inside my kitchen, so I lit some pumpkin and patchouli scented candles and set them next to clean, crystal vases that held sea glass at the bottom and leafy, green herbs shooting tall from the top. I set a roasting pan on my soapstone counter, and under the skin of a whole, organic free-range chicken I stuffed a little tarragon, a pinch of chopped rosemary, some sage, and a lot of parsley, with 4 big pats of butter, too. I squeezed a halved lemon over the top, put the lemon inside the chicken, and dusted the top of the bird with sea salt, cracked black pepper, olive oil infused with herbs, and dusted it with sweet, smoked paprika for color. Next, I rendered the fat out of some bacon in my Grandmother's cast-iron skillet, removed the bacon from the pan, and sauteed some brussels sprouts in the goodness. Then I added some chicken stock, covered the sprouts - that look like baby cabbages - and let them finish off on their own until the house smelled like Thanksgiving. The pumpkin & butternut squash soup with pasta beads had been made earlier in the day, and only required re-heating. After dinner, I ran a bath for the kids who sang Monster Mash loud enough to wake the sleeping dog, and they all washed their own hair and didn't get in water fights as the rain began to come down, hard. The dog quietly protested the noise and hid in a corner on her cushy bed. Within thirty minutes the kids had gone to bed and fallen asleep early - and quickly - and I read for a little while after watching my favorite Food Network show, which wasn't even a repeat.
There it is, my autumn fantasy. I exaggerated my kid's good behavior (the dog's too). Aside from the kitchen remodel and whole leave-raking thing, though, my life matches my mind's illusions most of the time. My kitchen just goes along with whatever ideal I create. It's my partner in culinary pretend, my blank page for what I need to say.
After the pumpkin patch field trip, I made soup, for real. The taste of nutmeg and curry provided a rich finish, the pureed and strained soup was velvety and sweet, and the acini de pepe pasta; tiny pasta dots, gave the soup personality.
The Great Pumpkin Soup took me where I wanted to go. It was a perfect meal to accompany me where I already was.