Looking back over the recipes on my blog by the month, this time of year, everything seems to be orange.
And I am okay with that!
Pumpkins are orange, winter squash is orange, even oranges are orange. Orange is yummy.
It is another banner year for winter squash around here – Larry told me how many we have, but I can’t remember the exact number. In the 100’s somewhere, if you count the pumpkins. We sold lots of them at the market this year, gave away a bunch of them to the kids and friends, and we will be eating them for months to come.
And don’t forget the chickens. During the cold winter months, when Larry is working down in his shop, with the wood stove going, he keeps an old stockpot simmering away, cooking squash and pumpkins for the chickens. They eat every scrap, right down to the rind and seeds. “Yummy!”, they say.
We like things just a little fancier than the chickens do though, so up in the house, at least once a month, I have a pot of this simmering away. It is rich and creamy and a little bit spicy. Easy too, once you have the squash cooked. This post from last year told you how to Cook a Fresh Pumpkin, and winter squash works the same way. You can buy a bunch of winter squash now, while it is cheap, and get it in the freezer to enjoy later on.
And once you have your squash cooked, you are only a few minutes away from this fantastic soup.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. Italian sausage, hot or sweet, casings removed
- 8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, cut in medium slices
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2 medium stalks celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 3 cups cooked, and mashed butternut, or other winter squash
- ½ cup heavy cream, or half & half
- additional salt, to taste
- Place the oil in a heavy 5 quart stock pot or dutch oven, and turn heat to medium
- Saute the Italian sausage in the oil, until lightly browned, remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving the remaining oil in the pan.
- Leaving the heat at medium, saute the sliced mushrooms until they are slightly browned at the edges. You may need to add another tablespoon or so of oil, if the mushrooms absorb it all.
- Add the onions and celery, sprinkle over the salt and saute until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minute or two.
- Return the sausage to the pot, and stir.
- Add the chicken stock and squash, and bring the soup up to a simmer.
- Lower the heat a bit and cook, covered for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the cream, and heat another 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh herbs on the top, and a crusty bread on the side.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
This is often a go-to for me, on a busy winter day when I want to get something on the table fast – it really only takes about a half an hour, since you can chop the veg while the sausage is sauteing, and the squash is already cooked. You can use store bought frozen squash if you don’t have any of your own in the freezer, and even canned pumpkin is a good substitute. You can use canned coconut milk if you don’t want the dairy in there.