The Thanksgiving season brings the generosity of the Native American people to mind since without their help, the early colonists would not have survived. And so it becomes a mark of true gratitude and respect to make a dish for our families that includes two ingredients prized by the indigenous people of this continent: corn, and that favorite seasonal squash, pumpkin.
Fragrant onions and herbs, along with the sweetness of the corn and tender pumpkin, make this a satisfying and delicious autumn meal. It would also be a fitting starter for your Thanksgiving feast. Here is the simple recipe:
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, or 3 cups canned pumpkin puree
3 cups corn kernels
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
8 cups broth or water
Dried or fresh sage leaves, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
1. In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic in the butter or olive oil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, covered, for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin and potato are tender.
3. Using a potato-masher, gently mash the pumpkin and potato and stir thoroughly to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot.
Serves 6 to 8.
By Cait Johnson, Author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).