What’s Fresh: November

By: Kelsey Johnson

The mother of all food holidays is within our grasp. Don’t be fooled by the garland and snowman candy bars lining the shelves of your local Walgreens… it really is early November. Fall foods like parsley, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, greens and turnips are still available. So if you have developed a relationship with a farmer around town, now is a great time to give them a call and get the inside scoop on the fresh foods they sill have in stock, but may not be actively marketing. If you don’t have a strong connection with a local farmer, it’s never too late to start, so make the first move and ask what they might have available! (All contact info is listed in our 2013 food guide.) It’s too late to sign up for Fall CSAs, but some winter shares may still available, and it’s never too early to start thinking about the spring!

Though never fear, Gateway Market, Campbell’s NutritionIowa Food Cooperative, and Wheatsfield Cooperative all have some of the best Iowa produce available year round. No reservations required.

When it comes to local turkeys, Gateway Market, Campbell’s Nutrition, and Picket Fence Creamery all have birds available. For more information about how to order, click here.

While it may not be full-blown Christmas season, despite what consumer hubs might suggest, it’s starting to get pretty cold outside, and what’s better at warming you up on a chilly day than hot, homemade soup? This week’s recipe is from our favorite allspice recipe archive, and features a whole slew of local, in-season ingredients. But if Butternut Squash Soup doesn’t speak to you then perhaps Potato Red Lentil Soup might be more your thing – also an allspice masterpiece.

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs

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Photo from Busy Bee Garden Center

SOUP

    • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 2 Cups chopped onions
    • 1/2 Tbsp dried Parsley
    • 1/2 tsp, Rubbed Sage
    • 4 Cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
    • 1 Cup 1/2 – inch cubes, seeded Granny Smith apples
    • 1 1/2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 5 to 6 cups Chicken Stock

BREADCRUMBS:
2 slices fresh whole grain wheat bread, crusts cut off, torn to pieces
4 teaspoons butter
1/2 Tbsp Sage, Dalmation Leaf

STEPS

For soup:  Melt butter with oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, parsley, and sage; sauté until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add squash, apples, and coarse salt; sauté until squash softens and onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add 5 cups stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender, allowing some texture to remain. Return soup to pot (Or do in one batch with an immersion blender) Thin with stock, if desired. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired (and if you’re into sweet, add a little brown sugar).

For breadcrumbs:  Place bread in processor; blend until fine crumbs form but some slightly coarser crumbs remain. Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and sage. Cook until crumbs are crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.