As cooler temperatures set in, some Michiganders are already eagerly awaiting next spring. Others are excited about the culinary and scenic changes that come with autumn and winter. I enjoy switching my wardrobe and recipes to embrace the chill of Michigan weather. In other words, Get out your sweaters, it’s soup season! Soups are quick and inexpensive to make from scratch, a great way to use a variety of veggies in one dish, and they provide a chance to try your hand with the fall’s best fresh, locally-harvested produce.
At the end of September and early October, it’s time to think about squash! Stored properly, some winter squash will keep well into the winter months without any canning or freezing. The Local Grocer has an excellent selection of well-cured winter squash. If you don’t plan to use it right away, look for one with a one-inch stem. When you get it home, store it in a low humidity area that is consistently between 50-55°F. Butternut squash is a very popular variety that is low in calories, rich in vitamin A, and has a 3-to-4-month shelf life. Acorn squash has can last eight weeks and a Hubbard can last six months!
This season, I’m trying a new spin on an old favorite: butternut squash soup. This one includes the smokiness of roasted peppers, maple syrup, and cinnamon. The combination of savory and sweet has made this Butternut Squash Cinnamon and Maple Soup my favorite version of the dish … it just tastes like fall. Every spoonful is an experience, highlighting the fall harvest; the naturally sweet, nutty taste of the squash along with fresh rosemary, roasted peppers, maple syrup and cinnamon.
To make this dish heartier, compliment it with a Cheddar-Rosemary Drop Biscuit. I use a quick recipe that is well suited for a beginning bread baker. In just 30 minutes, you will have a perfectly crispy, golden brown morsel, with a moist, dense interior. A warm bowl of squash soup and the smell of freshly baked bread will make any house feel like home and comfort food is a perfect way to enjoy the new season.
Please visit thelocalgrocer.com for full recipes.
Photography by Eric Dutro