Adventures in Eating: Halloween Squash Soup
Rosemarie | September 1984
Torrance Airport, deemed one of the busiest airports in the world because of touch-and-go operations, is just a skip and a hop from our home. It must be said, that this airport is smack in the center of a large city and is not exempt from controversy from time to time.
This airport is unusual however, as it has a redeeming feature. It is engulfed on its sides with a garden patch. A big one.
Each spring, around April, a rickety strawberry and vegetable stand puts out its green blackboard signaling it is open, and the area comes to life. The season starts with strawberries picked fresh from the garden patch, and magnificently exits with sweet golden corn and pumpkins. I saw my first pumpkin for 1984 last week.
Nowhere in the world, does a squash enjoy center stage as does the pumpkin in October in the U.S. It is known that the pumpkin is of the squash family, but is given a different name because it is larger than its sisters and brothers. A pumpkin can weigh up to 75 lbs. They are very commonly planted among the corn stalks, and herein probably lies the tale of our airport farmers completing their season.
I love pumpkins and always like to find a way to use them after they have served as a jack-o-lantern. The pumpkin’s shape and color always gives me joy. Maybe it’s a Cinderella complex. The following recipe makes a delicious soup, a change from making pie from our pumpkin. This recipe can be successfully halved.
HALLOWEEN SQUASH SOUP
1/4 cup salad oil
4 medium onions, chopped
2 t dry thyme leaves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 lb rutabagas, peeled, diced
2 lb thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cubed
16 cups (about 7 lbs.) peeled, cubed pumpkin (banana or acorn squash)
14 cups regular-strength chicken broth
1 pumpkin shell, seeded (about 6 qt capacity, top cut off)
Salt to taste
In a 8-10 qt. kettle over medium heat, put oil and saute onion, thyme & nutmeg. Stir until onion is limp. Add rutabagas, potatoes, and squash; lower heat and cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft. Pour in chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 hrs. A portion at a time, whirl vegetables in a processor or blender. Soup can be refrigerated at this point for the next day. Fill pumpkin shell with boiling water. Let sit 20 minutes to heat shell. Heat soup and ladle into shell. Serve with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with roasted sun flower seeds. Accompany with garlic bread and cheese of your choice.