It’s no secret that when the New England air gets the slightest chill, people change gears (to put it lightly). As soon as the thermostat dips below 50-degrees, it’s nothing but pumpkin spiced lattes, apple cider donuts, and sweater weather. For me, the trademark of early fall is when the Le Creuset comes out of hiding and moves to it’s seasonal home on my stove. From that point until mid-May there is almost always something bubbling in that sturdy blue pot, filling our little cape with the warmth and the smells that make a home.
Now, when it comes to local food, nothing screams “autumnal” like the orange bounty of October: squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Beyond their beautiful hue, they are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium. Add warm spices to the mix, and a dollop of yogurt for a nice cool contrast, and you have a perfectly balanced, nutrient rich soup to warm your belly and welcome the soft chill of fall. Sophisticated yet rustic, this soup is loved equally by friends at a dinner party as is by my two-year-old daughter after a long day at daycare.
AUTUMN SPICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup parsley, chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste
1. In a dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil until it shimmers. Then add squash, potato, carrots, and shallots.
2. Sauté until the shallot is transparent and potato begins to soften. Add spices and continue to stir until fragrant.
3. Stir in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, put a lid on the soup and simmer over medium-low heat.
4. When the potatoes split easily when poked with a knife, remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to purée the soup.
5. Return to heat and simmer on low until ready to serve.
I like to serve this soup in a warmed bowl with a dollop of plain yogurt, a sprinkling of fresh parsley, and a lightly toasted piece of sourdough. To make it more hearty (and non-vegetarian), this soup is possibly even more delicious when topped with crumbled sage sausage.