I've left the windows open for a few weeks now. I wanted to be done with the air conditioning (although a few days of lingering heat did cause me to doubt my decision). But tonight chill air creeps in through the window, curls up around the house, and goes to sleep like the fog in T.S. Eliot's poem "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock." The mornings and evenings are getting darker, and a quiet, interior life is starting to settle in, a life of reading, dreaming, knitting, sewing, and, of course, cooking.
Fall is my favorite time of year, for many reasons. The trees dress in their brightest finery, their last party of the season, the world dances with liquid light and reflected color, and streams and rivers run dark with leaf tea. And when the rains come, the chilly air carries the smells of fire and dry leaves, and the urge to bake with rich spices or slowly braise a stew takes hold. And of course, this is the season for soups: warm, satisfying soups that take advantage of a harvest of winter squashes, root vegetables, and the last of the summer vegetables.
This butternut squash and tomato soup is one of my favorite fall soups, which I've adapted slightly from Crescent Dragonwagon's Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread Cookbook, the first cookbook I ever fell completely heads over heels in love with. Warm and filling, the soup is sweetened with some maple syrup. Serve it with a piece of crusty bread for dipping and perhaps with a glass of cider for a simple fall meal. Or it could be a perfect starter later in the season for Thanksgiving.
- 2 large butternut squashes (alternatively, you can use 4 cups of canned pumpkin instead, just make sure it's good quality)
- 3-4 Tbsps olive oil or butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups homemade chicken stock (or for a vegetarian soup, use a well-flavored vegetable stock)
- 1 28-oz can of whole or diced tomatoes
- 2-3 Tbsps maple syrup plus extra for drizzling
- salt and pepper
FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash the butternut squashes and split them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard (or you can clean them off and roast them like you'd roast pumpkin seeds).
- Drizzle the cut sides with a little maple syrup and place the halves cut side down on the parchment paper.
- Bake the halves in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour. Poke them with a fork to make sure they are soft and cooked through.
- Let them cool enough to handle and to reabsorb some of the liquid that will leak out.
- Scoop out the flesh and mash it with a big spoon. (Note: If you double the number of butternut squashes, you can make a lot of extra puree to freeze for other uses. You can use butternut squash puree as a replacement in just about any recipe that calls for pumpkin.)
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly until they are soft and shiny, about 10 minutes. Try to avoid browning the onions. (Take your time with this step.)
- Add the stock to the onions, bring it to a boil, lower it to a simmer, and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices, 4 cups of butternut squash puree, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup to the stock. Let the mix heat up again. Then use a hand blender to puree the whole mixture until it's very smooth. (Alternatively, you can use a blender, but you will have to do that in batches.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a little more maple syrup on top to serve.
This is just one of many recipes celebrating fall and one of the most prominent colors of fall, orange (also my favorite color), in this week's All Things Orange Sunday Supper event. Here are all the wonderful recipes and don't forget to join in the Twitter chat using the hashtag #SundaySupper at 7 p.m. Eastern (U.S.) time.
Sunrise (Breakfast and Brunch)
- Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes is bringing her Orange Ricotta Pancakes
- Erin from Dinners Dishes and Desserts is baking up some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Heather from Girlichef is bringing Pumpkin Doughnuts with Spiced Buttermilk Glaze
- Nicole from Daily Dish Recipes is making Pumpkin Donut Puffs
- Patti from Comfy Cuisine is bringing Classic Orange Marmalade
- Sunithi from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz is making Spiced Pumpkin Ricotta Muffins with Craisins and Walnuts
- Wendy from The Weekend Gourmet is cooking up some Pumpkin Maple Oatmeal
- Jamie from Mama Mommy Mom is bringing Butternut Squash Butter
- Chelsea from Chelsea’s Culinary Indulgence is bringing Pumpkin Spiced Donuts with Chai Icing
- Kris from In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maureen made Sweet Potato Pancakes
High Noon (Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches)
- Renee from Magnolia Days is serving up some Butternut Squash Soup
- Beate from Galactopdx is bringing her Carrot Ginger Soup
- Jen from Juanita’s Cocina is making some Curried Sweet Potato Salad With Cranberries and Pecans
- Megan from I Run For Wine is making Skinny Roasted Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage Soup
- Sarah from What Smells So Good is filling our bowls with some Spicy Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup
- Alice from Hip Foodie Mom is coming with her Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad
- Susan from The Wimpy Vegetarian is making Cider – Spiced Sweet Potato Soup
- Tora from Tora’s Real Food is bringing Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup
- Melanie from From Fast Food to Fresh Food is making Monty’s Pumpkin Soup
- Lyn from The Lovely Pantry is bringing Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Soup
- Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic is whipping up some Mandarin Chicken Salad
Sunset (Dinner and Main Dishes)
- Sarah from Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends is offering up some Pumpkin Ravioli
- Shelia from Pippis In The Kitchen Again is serving her Roasted Squash and Ricotta with Honey
- Pam from The Meltaways is making Spooky Stuffed Peppers
- Patsy from Famfriendsfood is bringing her Carrot Souffle
- Laura from Small Wallet Big Appetite is bringing Chicken and Sweet Potato Fritters
- Mehereen from Chattering Kitchen is making Sichuan Orange Glazed Chicken with Toasted Sesame Seeds
- Tammi from Momma’s Meals is making Hearty Pork Stew
- Kristin from Kwistin’s Favorites is making Orange Chicken
- Soni from Soni’s Food For Thought is cooking up some Rigatoni with Pumpkin Ricotta Sauce
- Shelby from Diabetic Foodie is cooking up some Moroccan Vegetable Stew
- Dara from Generation Y Foodie is bringing Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Brandie from Home Cooking Memories is sharing a DIY Baked Sweet Potato Bar
- Amber from Mama’s Blissful Bites is bringing Rice and Fig Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
- Valerie from Val’s Food and Or Art made Double Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash
By the Bonfire (Sweets, Snacks, and Sips)
- Brie from Brie’s Bites is making Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
- Carla from Chocolate Moosey is making Pumpkin Tiramisu with Pumpkin Butter Caramel Sauce
- Heather from Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks is offering up some Pumpkin Cake Truffles
- Shelia from Cooking Underwriter is bringing Sweet Potato Bacon Beet Salsa
- Anne from Webicurean is making some Drunken Pumpkin Bread
- Karen from In The Kitchen With KP is making Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips
- Leslie La Cocina De Leslie is making Sweet Potato Atole
- Seet Fei from My Trials in The Kitchen is bringing Sweet Potatoes Mini Balls
- Tara from Noshing With The Nolands is bringing Oranges En Suprise
- Susan from The Girl in The Red Kitchen is making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scone with Pumpkin Glaze
- Conni from Mrs. Mama Hen is making Orange Glazed Poundcake
- Isabel from Family Foodie is baking up Moist Pumpkin Bread
- Cindy from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings is baking up a Vegan Pumpkin Orange Cake
- Brenda from Meal Planning Magic is whipping up some Creamy Pumpkin Dip
- Laura from Family Spice is making some Unprocessed and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
- Kathya from Basic and Delicious is baking up Butternut Squash and Carrot Bread
- Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake is serving up Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
- Stephanie from The Cookie A Day Challenge is whipping up some Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Katie from She Like Ruffles, He Likes Truffles is bringing Pumpkin Harvest Cookies
- Nancy from Gotta Get Baked is baking up some Orange Macadamia Dark Chocolate Cookies
- Angie from Big Bear’s Wife is bringing Orange Soda Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes
- Katy from Happy Baking Days is bringing Carrot Cake with Orange Glaze
- Sandra from Midlife Road Trip is bringing Orange ya glad it’s fall! Hungarian Apricot/Walnut pastries