It’s been a little gloomy the last few days in New York, and as the temperatures dropped (and the rain descended), nothing sounded better than a big bowl of soup. I’ve been loving all the pumpkins that are gracing doorways and bodegas around these parts, so I was inspired to make a pumpkin soup — but made a little decadent with sausage and cream. Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans. When I got to the store, they didn’t have any pumpkin puree, so I used butternut squash instead. However, if you can find non-sweetened pumpkin puree, which was what I was after, it would be awesome in this soup as well!
So yeah, this soup. A little bit of a splurge (again, sausage. cream.), but plenty of healthy things going on too: lots of leafy green kale, white beans, and of course, that vibrant, nutritious squash. This soup LOOKS like fall in a bowl — bright orange, flecked with bits of darker orange carrots and the deep green kale. And, an extra bonus: it’s a quick, easy weeknight meal! Here’s how you make it:
Butternut Squash Soup with Sausage, White Beans, and Kale
3 lbs pre-cubed butternut squash (or substitute 3 15-oz cans of butternut squash puree)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and medium diced
2 celery stalks, washed, and small diced
2 carrots, peeled and small diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 quart chicken stock
1 15-oz can navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 to 1 bunch of curly leaf kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream
garnishes: chopped scallions, sour cream or crème fraîche, toasted hulled pumpkin seeds
— kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Using a basket steamer set over a pot of simmering water, steam the butternut squash until it’s very tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the squash pieces to a food processor, and puree until the squash is smooth. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to ensure a smooth puree. Set the pureed squash aside. If you are using cans of butternut squash or pumpkin puree, you can skip this entire step.
Meanwhile, as the squash is steaming: In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Crumble in the sausage, and use a large spoon to break it up. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned on all sides. Remove to a plate or bowl and set aside. Add in the onion, celery and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables just begin to soften, add in the cumin and garlic powder. Continue to stir, until the onions are very soft and translucent.
Pour in the chicken stock, the butternut squash puree, the cannellini beans, stir, and season the soup again with salt and pepper. Add the crumbled sausage back in. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the kale (if you want it heavy with greens, add in the full bunch; otherwise, use half a bunch), and if using, the heavy cream. Stir gently until the kale wilts and is softened. Taste the soup, and season with more salt, pepper, and white wine vinegar as desired.
Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with your favorite toppings, and serve. It’s like a blanket in a bowl!