Fall weather is slowly creeping up on us here in Virginia. Squash is starting to show up at the market, and soon all the gorgeous summer tomatoes will be gone. Eric and I bought a butternut squash at the farmers market last weekend specifically for making this soup. I have a feeling we’ll be getting another one this weekend because this soup is too good not to make again. I can’t wait to make it when cooler weather arrives.
This soup is not your average butternut squash soup. Sausage and cannellini beans make it thick and hearty. It gets a good bit of smokiness from the Ancho chili, and the spices add so much earthiness and depth. The butternut squash is still the star of this dish, but it’s accompanied by several wonderful flavors. I imagine this soup could turn even the squash haters out there into squash lovers.
This soup can be adapted to your liking. Eric and I chose to blend the soup before adding the sausage and cannellini beans, but you could certainly blend all of it for an even thicker soup. Also, the sausage can be easily omitted for a vegetarian entree. As much as I enjoyed the sausage in this soup, the soup would still be quite delicious and filling without it.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage
1 small leek, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Ancho chili, stem removed
2 tablespoons white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
dash ground cloves
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons creme fraiche, plus more for serving
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-Preheat oven to 400º.
-Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Reserve seeds for roasting, if desired.
-Place squash, on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub cut side with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip over so that the flesh (cut) side is down. Roast for about 45 minutes, until skin is blistered and flesh is fork tender.
-Meanwhile, toast the ancho chili in a small skillet over medium high heat for about 1 minute, turning often. Set aside.
-Brown sausage in a medium pot over medium high heat. Drain sausage and set aside, leaving about 1 tablespoon grease.
-Once squash is cooked and cooled to touch, remove and discard skin.
-Using the same pot as the sausage, sauté the leek, celery and carrot for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue sautéing until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
-Use wine to deglaze the pot.
-Add broth, squash, herbs, spices and chili. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer 15 minutes.
-Using a blender, purée soup until smooth. Return to heat and add heavy cream and creme fraiche. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sausage and cannellini beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
-Alternately, add sausage and cannellini beans before blending, if desired.
-Top with additional creme fraiche for serving.
Adapted from Mike’s Table