One of our favourite soups at this time of year is this smoky squash soup topped with smoked cheese and tortilla chips. It’s hearty and fun, and perfect for a healthy Halloween meal before the kids go trick and treating.
I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice over the years how the American Halloween tradition of kids dressing up and taking over the streets as soon as dusk falls on the evening of the 31st October. When I was a kid, we did a bit of apple bobbing and then went around the block in our jeans and t-shirt or still in school uniform, knock at random doors and say ‘trick or treat’. I would say most the time most people would say trick, and probably only about 5 houses out of 50 would give us a sweet. We used to love doing the tricks more than anything and were armed with shaving foam and little paper bang snaps. I think our little gang was quite possibly the only one terrorising our sleepy suburban village as we never came across any other kids doing this. I never realised how naughty we were until I had kids of my own and would certainly now never encourage them to do the tricks we did. What were we thinking!
Now my kids get excited from the beginning of October and have multiple conversations a day about what dressing up outfit they’ll wear. On Halloween night the streets are full of kids now, in the way that I used to see in American movies. I think it’s a lot of fun for the kids and the community at large. The kids seem to much better behaved than we ever were and they observe the rule that if a house has a jack’o lantern out then they are participating in the trick and treating spirit.
All these memories got me thinking about what Halloween used to be here in the UK and what the pagan routes are. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica,
In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic Festival of Samhain was observed on October 31, at the end of summer…. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.
Well, that pretty much describes all these dressed up mini beings running around the streets, except omitting the invoking of the devil, but maybe there are people still doing this somewhere in places we have yet to know about. I do love a bit of magic and spells so maybe this year I’ll encourage my kids to do a spell in a bucket in the garden to help make peace in the world or to reverse global warming – you never know!!
So I digress and back to the food! There is nothing more I enjoy than a hearty smoky squash soup to warm my cockles on an autumn night. It’s easy and quick to make and the kids can eat it quickly before they go off of their trick and treating adventure. In fact they can even take it out with them in a flask so they don’t get too hungry or eat too many sweets.
Enjoy this very tasty smoky squash soup, it’s most definitely one of my favourites. Please let me know if you make this recipe and what your favourite Halloween recipes are, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Smokey Squash Soup with Tortilla and Smoked Cheese
- a tablespoon butter
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 celery or onion (use celery if you are following FODMAPS)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 butternut squash or 2 smaller squashes
- 1 litre chicken bone broth or stock
- top up with water
- salt and pepper to taste
- A handful of tortilla chips
- creme freche
- a handful of grated smoked hard cheese
- a sprinkling of paprika
- Step 1 Heat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC.
- Step 2 Toss the squash chunks with the oil in a roasting pan, and bake until very soft, about 40 mins to 1 hr
- Step 3 In a pan gently sauté the onion / celery and garlic until translucent.
- Step 4 Add in the spices and gently stir through.
- Step 5 When the squash chunks are cooked, add them to the pot with the broth.
- Step 6 Cook gently for a another 10 mins.
- Step 7 Leave to Purée with a hand-held blender, adding more water if needed to make a thick soup.
- Step 8 Add salt and pepper or more smoked paprika to taste.
- Step 9 Ladle the soup into bowls.
- Step 10 Put a dollop of sour cream in each, sprinkle with the grated cheese, sprinkle some more paprika and serve.