“Beautiful Soup so rich and green,
waiting in a hot tureen!
who for such dainties would not stoop?
soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
beautiful soup! Who cares for fish,
game or any other dish?
who would not give all else for two
pennyworth only of beautiful soup”
– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Well, it would appear that soup season is finally here. Yes, soup season – a little talked about time of year when people like me start wanting to feel all warm and cozy inside, in the way that only a decent bowl of soup can deliver. It may not inspire a community-wide celebration like the Okanagan Wine Festival, or even its own awareness month, but most people do commemorate it, whether they know it or not, with a nice, hearty bowl (or two) of soup. Like I am going to do, today.
You know soup season is starting when it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning, sweaters become a wardrobe staple, and only the most stubborn leaves remain clinging to the trees. It’s getting cold, and there’s no better way to warm yourself – inside and out – than to indulge in a nice big bowl of soup.
And, while it’s overlooked by many (who probably take theirs from a can) as “just soup,” when the mercury dips below 5C, soup eating – soup made from scratch, I mean – soup eating becomes a serious issue, and the stewing of it is nearly a work of art.
One of the best soups in my memory came from the Wood Fire Bakery, in the centre of town. While I’m vegetarian now, I still have fond memories of their beef barley stew. Those of you who do indulge in meat foods will appreciate this: more beef than one hungry girl can reasonably be expected to herd on her own. Barley that still has some chew. Carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions and other assorted vegetables. Chock-a-block. It was like a granddaddy hug for my stomach.
Tonight, however, we’re having a satiny smooth soup made from one of our McMillan Pumpkin Patch purchases. It’s a pumpkin soup recipe from the New Covent Garden Soup Company’s Book of Soups, a gift I received a few years ago from a dear friend in England.
Think of it as a little something for your soul.
New Covent Garden Soup Co’s Pumpkin Soup
25 g (1 oz) butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
200 g (7 oz) potatoes, peeled and chopped
900 g (2 lb) pumpkin, diced
250 g (9 oz) carrots, diced
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
Demerara sugar to taste
Finely grated nutmeg to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter and cook the onion gently for 5 minutes in a covered saucepan, without colouring. Add the potato, 750 g (1 ½ lb) of the pumpkin, the carrots and the vegetable stock. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Cool a little, then puree in a blender. Return to a clean saucepan and stir in the milk.
Meanwhile, add the remaining pumpkin to a saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and add to the pureed soup. Add the sugar, nutmeg and seasoning to taste. Reheat gently.
– Words and photo by Lori-Anne Poirier