Old New World: Southwest squash blossom soup with blue corn dumplings

squash blossom soup with blue corn dumplings

One of the things I love about living in Oakland is that moment in summer when all the farms at the farmers markets have a ridiculous amount of squash blossoms and the price has gone down from a dollar for a single blossom to a dollar for a giant bunch of ten or fifteen.  Squash is a New World crop and figures in prominently in a lot of pre-colonial food in the Americas, so the timing couldn't be more fortuitous.

squash blossoms

Southwest squash blossom soup

makes 6 servings 

  • 60 squash blossoms, washed and stamens removed if male
  • 1 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped spring or yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable broth

Heat the sunflower oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Reduce heat to low, add salt, pepper and squash blossoms. Sauté 3 minutes, stirring, then add the 6 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with blue corn dumplings.

blue corn dumplings

makes about 8

  • 1 cup blue cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Sift the blue cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar together in bowl. Add the oil and 3/4 cup water and mix well to make a stiff but moist batter, adding more cornmeal if necessary. Let rest 10 minutes. 

While the dough is resting, boil the 3 cups vegetable broth in a pot and reduce to a simmer.  After the dough has rested, make the dumplings using two spoons to make an almond shape, dropping each dumpling after forming into the simmering broth and cover the pot. Simmer for 4 minutes and remove from broth.


 blue corn dumplings fished from the vegetable broth


Simmering the blue corn dumplings in a separate pot ensures that should your dumplings explode into a mass of wet cornmeal, your squash soup will still be lovely.

Don't boil the vegetable broth for the dumplings too wildly, otherwise they will not form solid dumplings.

If the idea of eating whole cooked squash blossoms is a little overwhelming, slice them into strips lengthwise before adding to the pot. 

Recipes adapted from Native American Cooking: Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations by Lois Ellen Frank. 

too steamy to photograph very well, but quite tasty