Squash & Sausage Soup

I had a yen for squash and sausage soup today. The weather is dreary and cold, Scott’s getting sick, Alex may also be getting sick… seemed like a good night for soup. After a brief search on Google, Emeril’s recipe sounded the best.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND ITALIAN SAUSAGE SOUP
from Emeril Live EM1E43e

Ingredients needed:

1 large butternut squash, about 3 pounds, halved, seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 12 whole leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
6 cups light chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly coat the squash halves with 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil. Season the inside with salt and pepper and place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until very tender, about 45 minutes. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and reserve. Discard the peel.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the remaining vegetable oil and, when hot but not smoking, add the sausage. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until the onions wilted and starting to caramelize, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, sage and marjoram, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked squash and chicken stock, stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

With a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender, puree the soup. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean saucepan. Add the cider vinegar and stir to combine. Add the cream and adjust seasoning, to taste.

In a small saute pan, cook the butter over medium-high heat until it begins to turn brown around the edges. Add the whole sage leaves and cook until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the leaves to paper towels to drain.

Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with the crispy sage leaves.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

I used 2 acorn squash instead of a butternut; used dried oregano instead of fresh sage and marjoram (which I didn’t have); used sweet Italian turkey sausage instead of pork sausage; didn’t sieve it; and used a combination of milk and half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Because I didn’t sieve it, the consistency wasn’t as creamy as it could have been, but oh my. What a delicious soup! It was a huge hit. We had it with croutons on top.

Next time I make it, I will sieve it, but I’m also going to cook up some sausage separately and add it back at the end. Some nice, big homemade croutons would be nice, too.

Incidentally, this made quite a bit of soup. It served the 3 of us meal-size portions, and I still put up about 3-4 servings into the freezer.