One of the greatest Fall harvest gifts from October on are the falling of the large toughly husked black walnuts. When I lived in the northern Indiana, there numerous black walnut tree in and around a park just down from my house. I would gather these and process them myself, no easy task given that their husks can be close to impossible to break--but hey it was free food! Worth the effort. Those same husks can be used to make a very nice dark dye. If you do decide to process the nuts yourself, be aware that your hands will be stained black for days! Fortunately they can be bought in their hulls whole or shelled and bagged. Of course, I do not need to mention that pumpkins are also a gift a fall...I mean they gave us the New World version of the old European Jack-O-Lantern! This soup comes from another of E. Barrie Kavasch's books Native Harvests: American Indian Wild Foods and Recipes, a real classic at this point! The pairing of the these two harvest ingredients may sound a bit strange; but Native Americans put nuts into all sort of soups all the time (example: the very old Cherokee recipe for Pecan Soup or the Peanut Soup of the Muskogee Creek people), and the combination is a winning one, truly a taste treat, especially with the addition of the maple syrup! As Ms. Kavasch points out, this combination is high in essential carbohydrates and proteins--this means that it is a high energy food.
Black Walnut And Pumpkin Soup
1 small pumpkin, washed1 cup black walnuts, chopped
Maple syrup (to taste)
1 qt. water
Garnish: chopped walnuts and roasted pumpkin seeds
1. Roast the pumpkin whole at 325° F for 1 hour (or until the skin wrinkles and is easily pierced with something sharp, remove and let cool. Cut the pumpkin open and spoon out the seeds (be sure wash and save these, they can be pan toasted and eaten as is). Spoon out the pumpkin meat into a saucepan and mash it with the walnut and syrup.
2. Add the water, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon into heated bowls and garnish.