Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Sausage and Fried Sage

I need some therapy.  So here I am, laying on my blogosphere couch right now and I am about to bare my grocery store addiction with you.  

I have this problem every time I go to the market.  

I can’t help myself.  

It’s really bad.  

Ok, here it is…GULP….the grocery store is my crack!  *SIGH*  Truly, it is.  I just can’t help myself from piling things in my cart.  Canned goods, pasta, veggies, you name it, I toss it in.  It’s like Noah’s Ark in my basket with 2 of everything.  Sometimes 2 of things I just won’t use.  Like the 2 cans of Dulce la Leche that I bought the other day.  I have no plans on making Flan anytime soon.  I don’t even like Flan.  So why do I now have 2 cans of it in my pantry?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I probably read some article or blog post and stored the Dulce in my brain somewhere for future reference.  So as you can imagine, my fridge is packed and my pantry is busting at the seams and I guess it’s a good thing I dove head first into my food blog or we’d need to buy a bigger house.  Phew – I feel better!  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

I guess we better move on before I let something else out of the bag that will make you want to call the authorities and alert them of my need for a straight jacket and/or a personal grocery shopper.

So tonights dinner was a “pull it out of the air” dinner.  I’ve had a butternut sitting on the counter for the past few days (yes an impulse buy – but only 1 if you can believe it) and I knew it was like an orange time bomb that was going to explode in green furriness if I didn’t think of something to do with it and quick.  What resulted was, dare I say, pretty darn good!  It was flavorful, satisfying and delicious.  You could omit the sausage if you wanted a vegetarian soup with good success.  I have 2 men that are carnivores and to prevent late-night pantry raiding, I add meat.  

Give it a shot and let me know how you made it and what you thought.
Lop off the top of the butternut squash and then split it lengthwise.

Remove the seeds as best as you can.

Toss 3 unpeeled cloves of garlic in each cavity.

Drizzle with olive oil and flip over on a baking sheet so the cut side is down.

Roast uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 40-60 minutes, or until the flesh is soft when pressed.
Gorgeous!  And the house smells great by now too.
When it’s cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and put in a bowl.

Peel the garlic and toss in the same bowl with the butternut goodness.

Mince 2 onions (I used the Cuisinart)

Add the onions to a large stock pot with about 3 tbsp of olive oil and saute.  Toss in 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage and 1 tsp of fresh thyme.

Saute until the onions start to brown a little.

Toss in the butternut squash.

Mmm, pretty.

Pour in 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock and give it a stir.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for another 25 minutes.

Vegetarians – shield your eyes!  Carnivores – like your lips!

Remove the casings from 5 Hot Italian sausages.  Break into small bite-sized pieces and brown in a skillet.

Browned meaty goodness!

Try, just try not to sample!  I dare you!

It’s ok, I failed too.

In the same frying pan that you used for the sausage, add a tablespoon of olive oil and toss in 5 or 6 sage leaves and brown them on both sides.  Remove to a paper towel to drain.
Once they cool, they will crumble like crisp bacon.
If you have an immersion blender now’s the time to remember where you have it stored and dust it off.

If not, then you can cool the soup a tad and then use a blender or food processor.

Either way, process until smoooooooooth.

Add 1/3 cup of half & half for some extra decadence.  You could also omit this if you’d prefer it less creamy.

Whatever floats your boat.

Toss in the sausage morsels.  Hopefully you only ate 3 or 4 or 12.

I finished the soup with chunks of Gouda cheese, fresh ground pepper and a sprinkling of the crispy sage leaves.

DEVINE!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Sausage & Fried Sage
{Printable Recipe}
1 3 pound butternut squash
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Olive oil, for coating the squash
2 medium onions, minced
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1 pkg Hot Italian Sausages, casings removed and divided into bite-sized pieces
5 or 6 Sage leaves, whole, stems removed
3/4 c Gouda Cheese, cut into chunks
Fresh cracked pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2) Cut the top off of the butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and inner membrane as much as possible.  Place 3 garlic cloves in each cavity, drizzle with olive oil and flip over so the cut side is down on a baking sheet.  Roast for 40-60 minutes or until tender when pressed.  Remove and let cool until you are able to handle it.
3) Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl.  Peel the roasted garlic and toss in the same bowl.
4) Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onions, chopped sage and thyme and cook over medium high heat until the onions start to brown, about 10 minutes.
5) Add the squash, garlic and 2 quarts of stock.  Bring to a bowl and then turn the heat down to medium low and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
6) In a skillet, brown the sausage.  Set aside.
7) In the same skillet, add a tablespoon more of olive oil (if the pan is dry) and fry the whole sage leaves turning to brown both sides.  Remove to drain on a paper towel.
8) Salt the soup to taste and using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.  Add the sausage.
9) Ladle the soup into bowls and add 6 or 7 chunks of gouda cheese, fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkling of the crispy sage leaves.
10) Enjoy every wintery, earthy, delicious bite.

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