Warmth of Home

Fall is a nostalgic season for me. There is something about the stark contrast of chilly, crisp air of being out in nature, to the warm nurturing feeling of returning indoors, where family, comfort, and soothing foods greet you.

That is why the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove remind us of this time of year; they compliment the fall harvest of apples, pears, squash, and pumpkin. And tastes like the coming holidays, too.

Here is a tasteful, chunky, and thorough squash soup. Thorough because whole cinnamon sticks sweeter the squash while curry powder enlivens the squash.

Hubbard Squash Soup

Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced (1 cup)
2 tsp. curry powder
5 lb. *Hubbard, butternut, or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 2-in. pieces (11 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 c. chicken stock or broth
1.5 c. water
1 tsp. salt
3 2-3 inch cinnamon sticks

1. In a pot heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion and curry. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add squash pieces and garlic. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, water, salt, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender.

*A huge Hubbard squash can be difficult to cut up. Wash squash; place in a clean, large heavy plastic cooking bag. Fasten bag closed. Drop bag several times onto a hard surface, such as a cement floor. The squash should break safely into small, more manageable pieces.

(And of course, you have to let your kids make a jack-o-lantern with it first.)

2. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Using potato masher, coarsely mash mixture, or cool slightly and transfer in batches to a food processor. Cover and process until nearly smooth. Return all to pot. Heat through. Of course, top with sour cream!

Makes 8-10 servings.

This recipe comes from my 2004 Better Homes and Gardens Annual Cookbook. I love these! Each book is organized month by month with great recipes, but even better, incredible photos. You can find previous years of the annual cookbooks for a couple bucks a piece on ebay.