Harvest Soups and Breads for Autumn

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Genesis 1:29—And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Hello friends! Harvest pumpkin soup and chicken gumbo are easy enough to make on short notice and filling enough to take the chill off a breezy fall day.

Harvest Pumpkin Soup


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup yellow or white onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon light brown sugar or to taste

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3-4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth

Pinch dried thyme or a few minced fresh thyme leaves

2 cups pumpkin homemade pumpkin purée or one can, 15 ounce pure pumpkin purée

Freshly ground nutmeg to taste

A shake of ground cayenne pepper or to taste

1/2 cup whipping cream

Salt to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in soup pot. Add onion and garlic and cook just until onion is translucent, not browned. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and thyme and cook a few minutes until the garlic smells fragrant. Whisk in broth and pumpkin purée. Add nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in cream.

Transfer soup, in batches to a blender and purée until smooth. (Instead of a lid, place a towel on top of the blender to catch any splashing soup.) Return to pot and if too thick, add more broth. Serve plain, or garnished with a thyme sprig or with a drizzle of roasted red pepper purée.

Chicken Gumbo Soup


1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into 1-inch pieces

1 bell pepper, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 generous cup onion, diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

1 cup white rice

6-8 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon garlic, minced or more to taste

1 can, 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil or more to taste

10 ounce frozen cut okra or 2 cups fresh okra, sliced

In a soup pot over medium heat, add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add chicken, bell pepper, celery and onion and cook just until chicken loses its pink color. Stir in garlic, basil, bay leaf, rice, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and six cups chicken broth. Bring to a gentle boil, lower to a simmer and cook, covered, until chicken and rice are done, about 20 minutes. Add more broth if desired.

While soup is cooking, sauté okra in a little olive oil or butter just until crisp/tender and still bright green. After the soup is done, adjust seasonings and remove bay leaf. Add okra and serve. Tip: If using brown rice instead of white add 15 minutes to cooking time.

Until next time!

Alice Russell, also known as “Me Me,” is a guest columnist. Her email address is letstalkherbs@gmail.com.

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