A Day at the Pumpkin Patch
There are not enough ways I can say it, or with enough frequency. I. Love. Fall. Grey skies, crisp air, colorful leaves, and dishes like this Delicata and Carnival Squash Soup. For me, this time of year evokes feelings of a new beginning. Early Fall is most pleasing, because the general disjointed feeling that summer tends to give me starts to wind down. A new school year begins, and thoughts of holiday plans begin to form.
I love early Fall especially, because there are often berries still clinging to the vines at the same time those beautiful Fall and Winter squashes start to make their appearance. If I’m lucky, I can have berries at the same time I am carving my pumpkins and putting on my comfy sweaters. It’s the best of both worlds, really. Don’t get me wrong. I love all the seasons, but there is something about this time of year that tugs at my heartstrings.
My little corner of the world is very agricultural, and we are so fortunate to have a number of pumpkin patches close to us. We went to one of our favorites, because they have hay rides, fresh baked pie, and a taco stand. Who wouldn’t love that? It was the first pumpkin patch trip for my littlest, who is six months old. My oldest was able to come home from college for the weekend and join us. With my fourteen year old on wheelbarrow duty, we set off to the fields to find the perfect pumpkins for painting and carving. The weather was perfect, and of course we had to pick up one of the fresh Bumbleberry pies they were selling. The sunflowers were in full bloom, apples were still precariously hanging on their branches, and the sky was clear. It was terrific.
Delicata and Carnival Squash Varieties
I was very happy to see that they had a wide variety of squash so early in the season, and especially glad they had the two varieties I most like to use for today’s post, Squash Soup. I really like to use less common squashes when I can find them. Not that there is anything wrong with butternut or acorn, I just really love the subtle flavor variations that each variety offers. For this particular soup, I like the Delicata and Carnival varieties. Roasting them first really brings out the flavor, and the Aleppo chili powder provides heat. I really like the heat of Aleppo, and if you can find some in your local market I highly recommend trying it. If Aleppo is unavailable, cayenne pepper is a suitable substitute.
Tips and Tricks
You can prep much of this recipe ahead by roasting the squash beforehand, and even cooking the bacon ahead, just use oil to saute the onion since you won’t have any bacon grease (unless of course you want to save your bacon grease for later, I’m not going to stop you). When you do as much ahead as possible, this is a really quick dinner to throw together, or even a great lunch that will last you most of the work week. I hope you are encouraged to try some new squash varieties, there are so many out there. This Delicata and Carnival Squash Soup is one great way to do it. Happy cooking!
- 6 Slices Bacon, Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped
- 2 tsp Salt
- 4 Cups Delicata and Carnival Squash, Roasted
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 1/2 tsp Ground Dried Sage
- 3/4 tsp Aleppo Chili Powder
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- In a large stockpot on medium high heat, cook 6 slices of chopped bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain off all but 1 tbsp of drippings.
- Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add salt and 4 cups roasted squash, and stir for about 3 minutes.
- Then, add 4 cups chicken stock, 1 1/2 tsp dried sage, and 3/4 tsp aleppo and bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add heavy cream and puree with stick blender, or pour soup into blender in batches to puree. Serve in bowls and top with cooked chopped bacon.
For the squash: cut one large Delicata and one large Carnival squash in half lengthwise, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and place cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to one hour in a 425 degree oven. This part can be done in advance, making this an easy dish to throw together quickly.
Serving Size:1 Serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1.5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 457mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2.5gSugar: 1.5gProtein: 4g