Martha makes this great soup that she serves in a pumpkin (a cooking pumpkin) that has been baked in the oven so that when you serve the soup you also scrape a bit of the pumpkin out with the soup.
I couldn't find the original recipe or my own revision but I thought if I started off with autumn vegetables and with a bit of sweet Italian sausage that I scored on sale in Stop & Shop how far wrong could I go. After all, soup to me is either chicken, beef, fish or vegetable stock with stuff in it. Always onions, sometimes garlic, vegetables (in season) in quanitity and spices.
I like meat in hearty dinner time stews, especially in the fall and as the sausage started cooking and releasing its spicy fragrance I was transported back to my childhood running though the piles of leaves my Dad had raked. I still love to hear the crunch of them beneath my feet. We have indoor cats and one year we brought a pile of them into the kitchen just to see the kitties have the wonder of chasing those red and gold jewels around the floor.
This year I just put a few bright red ones around a bowl of apples on the kitchen table. I had some friends for lunch and we enjoyed the soup with a baked brie en crute, roasted garlic bread and some fresh pressed apple cider.
Autumn Vegetable Sausage Soup:
6 sweet Italian sausage links
2 medium sweet onions chopped
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 small stalk of celery (head) diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 -3 large leaves of fresh kale
2 cans cannelloni beans (or you can soak and cook them but I had the cans in the pantry)
2 - 3 quarts chicken stock (Knorr low sodium concentrated stock in little tubs)
1 T. cumin
1 T. curry (Pensey's Sweet Curry)
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Put 1/2 inch water in a dutch oven and simmer until the sausages are almost cooked and the water is almost gone. I removed the sausages and sliced them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch disks. Pour a couple tablespoons into the pot and saute the sausages until the brown.
2. When the sausges are almost browned put in the onions and let them saute with the sausages until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir for a few minutes.
4. Add the spices.
5. Add the chicken stock. I used Knorr Homestyle Concentrated Stock. The come in a set of 4 tiny tubs that make 3 1/2 to 4 cups of stock with water. They have no MSG added, are low fat, and they taste very good. Some of the canned broths and box broths are good and can be used but to be honest they are so heavy when I'm bring in the grocery bags that I find these much easier.
6. I let everything simmer together for at least an hour and adjust any seasoning near the end.
I have to admit that most of my soups never come out the same way twice. They are always delicious, but a lot depends what I'm in the mood for and what I have on hand. If there were mushrooms, or some fresh parsley, or basil in the fridge or in the garden they would have gone in. A left over ear of corn would have had it's cornels removed and happily mingled with the rest of its veggie friends. Sometimes I throw in split peas, lentils or orzo if I want a thicker soup. The cannelloni beans will break down a bit at the second day's incarnation and lend a lovely creaminess to the broth.
Lunch with friends is always great, but lunch with friends who are mmmmming and yummmming over your homemade soup...(as they say) priceless.
Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.