Friday, October 4, 2013

Soup week - Kielbasa, squash, and wild rice

This week's weather is getting better.

My office view has gone from this...

To this...

Today it's a gloomy blanket of grey drizzle across that same view.  Sigh.

But, that same weather is what inspired this, the second in a series of posts on soup.  The first post was the green potage on the left.  Today's focuses on that orange jewel in the middle.

Let me begin by saying that Gene does not like squash.

I, on the other hand, love it.  My dad is a New Englander.  Maybe that has something to do with it.  Forget the Thanksgiving yams with their weird marshmallow topping: hand me the butternut squash puree with butter.  I'll happily have a dinner of an acorn squash with butter and brown sugar or maple syrup.  When I was pregnant a local restaurant served chili in a cooked pumpkin bowl that you ate as you devoured the chili.  Divine.

Quite a few years ago I stumbled across Emeril Lagasse's recipe for "Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Wild Rice Soup".  Intrigued, I made it.

And guess what: Gene loves it.  In fact, he asks me to make it every winter.  The problem is Emeril's version is a pain in the ass to make, gets a ton of things dirty in the kitchen, and requires way more hands-on work than a rustic soup has any right to ask of someone.  Cube & cook & puree & saute & cook & mash...

Screw that.  We can do better than spend 3 hours on making soup.  This will still take about 2 hours from start to finish but there's considerably less hands-on time and fewer things you'll need to get dirty.

I made this recipe healthier AND dairy-free by omitting the cream.  Swap out the kielbasa for vegan sausages and add some liquid smoke to make a vegan version of this soup.  A note about the squash: I used 1 butternut, 1/2 acorn, and a quart of sugar pie pumpkin that hadn't sealed because it's what I had on hand.  To streamline this recipe even more, you can use squash puree found in the frozen section of the grocery store or cubed squash from the produce section.

Here's my version of that soup.  I halved it from the original, which makes a TON.  The corn and squash make it sweet.  The kielbasa lends it savory smokiness.  The rice provides texture and a nutty taste.  Try it and let me know what you think!
Photo: (because I forgot to take pictures)
Kielbasa, Squash & Rice soup  
Inspired by Emeril Lagasse's original version on 
Serves 4-6

1 squash, about 3 to 4 pounds, cut in half and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
7 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups chopped onions

3/4 pound kielbasa, cut into half-inch cubes
1 cup corn
1/2 cup wild rice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until tender.
While the squash is cooking, coat the bottom of a soup pot with the olive oil and brown the sausage over medium-high heat until browned. Add the onions, corn, salt, and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.  

Once tender, remove from oven and allow squash to cool until workable.  Scoop out the pulp and use a potato masher to mash the squash in a bowl.

Add the stock and the squash puree. Bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.  Simmer for another 10 minutes or until the rice is done but not mushy.  Add more stock if you want a thinner soup.

Adjust the seasoning and serve.  This soup reheats beautifully.  We had it with beer bread, for which I'll post a recipe soon.

CANNING NOTE: I did not can any of my Soup Week soups.  I stored them in the fridge in canning jars for ease of finding & accessing them.  If you want to can your soups, use the National Center for Home Food Preservation website's guidelines for canning soup.  

Next soup post, my west coast and east coast roots collide in a most delicious way.

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way about sweet potatoes, in general.. They're good... they're just not butternut squash. and that love carries to most of the winter squashes... except pumpkin. .. you can keep that pooty ball all to yourself. That soup look terrific! toss in some cook sage sausage while you're reheating it and you've got a hearty cool weather soup to beat the band, (well, I would.... I gotta have my meat :) )