Harvest of soups

November 05, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Very funny, Mother Nature.

Leaves are falling, frost is on the pumpkin, days are getting shorter.

It's autumn, darn it.

Just as we begin to accept the end of summer - maybe we were even getting tired of tomatoes and melons fresh off the vine, you pull a few glorious Indian summer days out of your bag of tricks.

Should we be sharing recipes for barbecue instead of soups made from fall produce such squash, pumpkin and apples?

Maybe so.

But despite a few days of uncharacteristically balmy temperatures, fall will fall, with winter weather soon to follow.

Norma Craver of Hagerstown shared her recipe for Vegetable-Sausage Soup, a simple, tasty dish that works with a sandwich, cheese and crackers, or all by itself.


A native of York, Pa., Craver got the recipe from a longtime friend there and has been making the hearty soup for more than 20 years. Conscious of limiting the fat content of food she prepares, Craver uses Italian turkey sausage.

There's no meat in the Winter Squash and Apple Soup recipe provided by Lynn F. Little, family and consumer sciences educator with Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.

Butternut squash and sweet potatoes combine with apples for a pleasant fall flavor. The onions in the recipe provide some backbone, the cayenne a little zip.

Herbarist, Herald-Mail columnist and Hagerstown resident Dorry Baird Norris, was first published in 1991 in "The Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook; Celebrations, Recipes and Herb-Gardening Tips for Every Month of the Year." She recommends serving her recipe for Pumpkin Soup, made with tomato juice, at the start of Thanksgiving dinner.

"Perhaps you can skip the pumpkin pie for dessert," she writes.

The seasonal soup recipes are simple and easy to make - perfect after an afternoon of raking autumn leaves.

Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 tablespoons minced onion

  • 2 cups canned or fresh pumpkin puree

  • 1 scant teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed)

  • 4 cups tomato juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 3 teaspoons toasted sunflower seeds, lightly chopped

Add oil and onion to 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; stir and cook until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and puree in a blender. Return to heat, adding a bit more tomato juice; if the mixture seems too thick, add a little more tomato juice and reheat without boiling. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serves 4 to 6.

- Recipe from "The Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook; Celebrations, Recipes and Herb-Gardening Tips for Every Month of the Year," courtesy of Dorry Baird Norris

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

  • 2 cups butternut squash or buttercup squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (raw, uncooked)

  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and chopped

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped (use a cooking apple)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cups water, or just enough to cover apples and vegetables

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

Bring the vegetables, apples and water to a boil in a saucepan on high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the seasonings and use a blender to process the mixture. Heat in the saucepan again on low heat until hot.

- Recipe courtesy of Lynn F. Little, family and consumer sciences educator, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County

Vegetable-Sausage Soup

  • 1 pound loose sausage made into small balls (Craver uses Italian turkey sausage, available in local grocery stores.)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 can (16-ounce) stewed tomatoes

  • 2 cans (8-ounce) tomato sauce

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules or beef cubes

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 cup celery

  • 1 cup sliced carrots

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 1 cup sliced zucchini

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon basil

Cook sausage in oil until brown; drain off fat.

Place tomatoes, sauce, water, bouillon and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onions, zucchini, parsley and seasoning. Return to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add sausage, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves 6.

- Recipe courtesy of Norma Craver of Hagerstown

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