Sunday, November 9, 2008

The time of year for soup recipes!

I never liked soup when I was young, and I still don't like soup out of a can, but when the weather turns chilly and fall is in the air I don't hesitate to start breaking out my soup recipes. This winter I am sure I will share many with you, but the first is a brand new recipe from AF, my sister.

I have been searching for the perfect butternut squash soup recipe for a couple years now. There was a lunch place near my first job in NY that had a butternut squash and apple soup that I ate every day for a year. I have tried to recreate it, but I always find my attempts to be bland and lacking in inspiration.

This year AF had me drooling with jealously over the amazing garden she was able to plant at her new home in Royersford, PA. A couple of weeks ago when she was up visiting, she brought me two beautiful butternut squashes and a recipe for Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice soup.

I have to admit I was hesitant at first, the idea of sausage in soup is not something that thrilled me. I waited for my mother to give it a shot first, and when both she and my sister raved about it, I decided to try it out. As I was making it, I was still skeptical about a soup that had almost no spices in it! What is butternut squash soup without cinnamon and nutmeg?

As the soup started to bubble in the pot I took a taste and was blown away. How could such a simple soup have so many flavors and textures? You could taste the smoky spiciness of the sausage and the vegetables and rice combined to give the soup an amazing heartiness. It was everything my other butternut squash soups have not been, inspirational.

Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

2 medium butternut squashes - peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper
12 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups chopped wild rice
1 box instant wild rice
3/4 pounds sausage - kielbasa, turkey kielbasa, jalapeno chicken sausage, chicken apple sausage, anything that inspires you
2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (I didn't have this, so I used skim milk, it worked fine)
1T chopped parsley (I think I used 4 times this, you can never have too much fresh parsley!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with 1T olive oil and some salt and pepper. Layout on flat baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until tender.

2. Remove the squash from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes and then throw into the food processor with 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of onions. You might have to do this in batches depending on the size of your food processor.

3. In a saucepan, cook the wild rice according to the instructions on the box except replace the water with chicken stock. Put to the side.

4. In a large dutch oven (a really big saucepan, perfect for making soups) add some olive oil and brown the sausage for 3 minutes. Add the remaining onions and the corn, season with salt and pepper and saute for 3 minutes.

5. To the soup pot, add 6 cups of stock and the squash puree. Stir well and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat an simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface (I used chicken sausage and there was almost none, but I expect if you use real sausage there is more.) Stir in the rice and continue to cook for 10 minutes.

7. Remove from heat, add half-and-half and season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve.


David said...

I've had this soup made with cajun spiced sausage. It was awesome!

Dan Abdinoor said...

KR is so good to me, she brought me some of this soup and it was fantastic. It's so thick and hearty that soup doesn't seem like the right word for it...