Ginger Squash Apple/Pear Soup

Ginger Squash Apple/Pear Soup

I had the privilege to meet herbalist/botanist lecturer Rachel McLeod at her Kiln Farm in Pushlinch County when in my career was just starting to understand the proper use of herbs and spices. I was introduced to Rachel McLeod at her garden and we became good friends. I spend many hours gathering information with hands on instructions on the herbs properties and medicinal purposes. Rachel extensively grew an expansive Victorian Herb Garden that contained a significant amount of native and traditional native herbs and plants.

She gave personal guided tours of this large garden and would harvest as she walked and talked.

The large acreage housed a huge barn and side green house in which she would store and dry out all the different species of herbs, plants fruits and vegetables that were harvested. All the different species were catalogued. She would point out the plants characteristics and medicinal purposes.

After many visits to her farm I would learn about the many herbs and plants that were used to flavour and enhance the foods produced in Victorian times. I was amazed at the amount of work it was to have such a garden thrive. Rachel lived to be a centurion and the last time I was back east I stopped in to visit the new owners who were both graduates of the Niagara University and Guelph University. They still tend the garden and sell the dry herbs to discriminating chefs around the world.

To this day I am still learning about the complexity of the herbs we use in today’s cookery.

I will not go into an appendix of herbs that are available in most grocery stores today.

Just try using fresh herbs when you next prepare a soup, salad or entrée.

In Rachel’s garden there was a multitude of mini vegetables being harvested removing the first ripe emerging fruits.

I remember the miniature vegetable side dishes Rachel would assemble using the first growth items.

Baby carrots, beets, peppers, pee wee tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, tiny white turnips, cauliflower, baby onions, new potatoes gently washed and dressed with olive oil red wine vinegar touch of sugar, salt and pepper or steamed and mixed with fresh herbs and yogurt.

One of my favourite recipes she showed me was a butternut squash, and apple ginger soup.

It’s a simple soup to make and the simple ingredients are available in most stores.

  • 5 cups strong low salt chicken stock
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes.
  • 1 med yam peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 med ambrosia apples or 1 apple and 1 pear, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 med shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup 35% cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Heat the stock until simmering.

Add all ingredients except the cream.

Simmer covered for 30 min or until all veggies are tender.

Puree in food processoror with a blender stick. Return to pot and then add the cream.

Add salt and pepper to season and simmer for 5 min.

Serve and garnish with a spoonful of natural yogurt.