The Irish emigrants brought many recipes and stories with them from the old country. The Irish-Americans of Wilmington and the Brandywine valley still tell this tale when sitting at the family table with a hot bowl of homemade soup such as the potato soup or the celtic carrot soup.
Irish folkore is full of food. One famous character was the god Dagda, a high king of the mythological Tuatha De Danann people. Dagda was famous for his magic club, which had the power to both slay men and bring them back to like. He was also famous for his bottomless cauldron, called the Undry. Before the battle of Magh Tuireadh, Dagda’s enemies, the Fomor, filled his cauldron with 400 gallons of new milk, meal and fat. They also added goats, sheep and pigs and boiled it together. They then poured it into a large pit in the ground. Dagda was challenged to eat it all or be slain. The Fomor had underestimated Dagda; he finished the soup, scraping up the bits and pieces from the gravel at the bottom. Aftwards, Dagda went on to defeat these Fomor challengers on the battlefield.
Many soups come from folklore or harvest festivals held in November; this soup is a good addition to the Thanksgiving or harvest table.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, diced
1 cooking apple, cored and diced
1 tbsp. minced fresh sage, plus 6 small whole leaves
6 cups chicken stock, plus extra as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. crème fraiche
1. Melt the butter with oil in a large pot over a low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash, stir well and cook for about 10 minutes more.
2. Add the apple and chopped safe leaves, then add the chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes or until the squash and apple are soft. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and allow cooling slightly. Working in batches, puree in a food processor transferring to a bowl as each batch is done. Wipe out the pot and return the soup to the pot. Diluting the soup with a bit more chicken stock if it is too thick. Heat the soup over a medium-high heat and stir occasionally. Adjust the seasoning.
4. Serve each bowl of soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and a sage leaf.