The other day when Kasey and I were chatting about the seasons and what they mean to us, our conversation inevitably moved to the best season of all - fall. In my hometown in Pennsylvania, the summers are hot and humid; the winters are cold, dreary, and long; the spring is fleeting; but fall, well fall is another story. When autumn makes her arrival, the trees burst into a million shades of orange, yellow, and red, the air is crisp and cool, and the smell of fireplaces fills the air. Huge piles of leaves are asking to be jumped in, an abundance of apples (and apple cider!) is at the farmer’s markets, all you want to do is snuggle up with a cup of tea and a book in a warm cafe.
It’s. The. Best.
Fall just isn’t the same in the bay area - there’s no getting around it. Although I’ve come to terms with the difference, I can’t help but feel homesick each year when September and October roll around.
At least I have this comforting soup to let me play pretend. It’s the perfect fall soup - from the colors, to the ingredients, to the aromas filling your home. It’s a cinch to put together, so go ahead and enjoy the fall weather wherever you may be, then come home and quickly whip up this cozy meal.
This soup starts with bacon fat (always a good sign), which adds a layer of smokiness that works perfectly with the warming spices of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. The tender greens add a tangy bite, the squash is creamy and slightly sweet, and the ham brings texture and the perfect amount of saltiness. I served these ever so simple drop biscuits (that I added cheddar cheese to)* alongside. Hungry yet?
You’ll need: 1 tbs bacon fat 1 tbs olive oil 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly 1 delicata squash, cubed (approximately 2 c.) 2 ½ c. packed chopped greens (I used a mix of both kale and swiss chard) ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger ¼ tsp ground cardamom 3 c. vegetable stock 1 c. cubed ham
Melt the bacon fat and olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic cloves, and stir them around for about 30 seconds, then add both the delicata squash and the greens. Cook until the greens are completely wilted, about 10 minutes.
Add the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom and stir in order to coat the veggies. Then add the broth and the ham and bring back to a simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, just until ham is heated through. Divide among two bowls, serve with biscuits, and enjoy!
*Be sure to adjust the salt down slightly in the recipe if you’re adding cheese