I make so many more soups than I ever blog that if I did include them all I’d have to change the name to ‘Melady Soups’. Soup is my first love. When I was a kid I loved it to bits straight out of a can with crumbled up saltine crackers. *guilty look* I still like soups best with crushed crackers, but most of the time I refrain from doing that any more. The carb thing, you know.
I remember going grocery shopping and seeing all of the cans lined up with all their names. I would read them all and wonder what they tasted like. My mom bought the basics: chicken noodle, tomato, chicken and stars. Bean with bacon was one of my favorites, and split pea. She bought those two less often because she actually made very good versions of those on her own. It wasn’t until I left home that I got to sample all of those canned soups with mysterious names like “Minestrone”.
Now I smirk as I pass the soup aisle in a grocery, knowing that I make soups that are nothing like those labeled cans of preservatives. My pureed black bean and pumpkin soup is pure bliss, sipped from a cute mug on a cold winter day. My roasted red pepper soup is delicious on its own, or tossed with warm pasta for dinner. I’ve perfected a lot of amazing soups in the past few years. I think of it as a hobby, but it might be closer to an addiction at this point.
One soup I’ve never been happy with is squash. I suppose the problem comes from the fact that I’m not a huge squash fan. It has a cloying sweetness that says “I should be a pie” in my mind. And squash pie is fine, but not as a side dish to meat and veg for dinner. Or liquefied in a mug to be sipped for lunch. Pie soup? Ugh.
When I read a recipe that used roasted squash with wild rice, and another one with squash and spinach, I blinked twice. I love wild rice in soups and it could add the depth I was looking for. Maybe this was the secret to taming the sweetness of squash. Further partnering it with something green like spinach, not a sweet fruit, might work. I had a giant hubbard squash (think beach ball) from the farm, I just needed to roast it all up and I’d be ready to make soup.
I needed 2 pounds of roasted squash for the recipe, and I handled roasting it in this post. The soup was easy to throw together after the squash roasting was done. I read several recipes for ideas, but eventually created my own soup recipe with a blending of ideas.
I chopped 2 cups of onion and a half cup of sweet red peppers and put them in the heated soup pot with a little oil. I let them sauté until they began to brown, then added a cup of water to the pot to deglaze the bottom. I added 5 more cups of water and 3 vegan chicken bouillon cubes and let it come to a boil.
I added a cup of wild rice, some garlic powder, garam masala, and salt and turned it down to simmer for about 45 minutes. The rice was almost cooked, so I added the diced roasted squash and let it come to a boil again, then reduced it to simmer once more. I let it simmer for about 30 more minutes, then used my immersion blender and pureed the soup.
The soup was fairly thick so I added 4 more cups of water, the 2 cans of corn, and tested for seasoning. I added a lot of salt, twice actually, until it tasted right. I put a glug of rice wine vinegar in to add that touch of acid that makes a soup pop, and stirred it well.
I added the chopped spinach, stirred and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. Finally I added 2 cups of heavy cream and tasted for seasoning again. Yet again I added more salt. I wasn’t adding much each time but this soup really needs salt added. My chicken broth isn’t very salty, so your results might be different if you use a salty bouillon. Always error on the light side for salt; you can add it later.
While the pot simmered, I put Italian sausages into a medium sized skillet with a cup of water and let them cook for about 20 minutes, turning once.
I plated the soup with slices of garlic sourdough bread, then topped each bowl of soup with sausage slices. I really, really liked the flavors of the soup. The pureed base itself was so interesting with the melding of squash and wild rice. I’d definitely make that again as a pureed soup. Adding chunky veg like corn and spinach was a good idea, and I’d do that again as well. It was a feel good veggie soup.
We love almost anything with garam masala; it adds an Indian flavor to the soup. If you’re not familiar with the blend of spices, you might want to start with a half teaspoon and increase from there after you’ve tasted it. The flavor married well with the spicy Italian sausages for a satisfying dinner on a cool and rainy fall day.
Squash Everything Soup
2 cups onion; diced
1/2 cup sweet bell pepper; diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 cups chicken broth
1 cup wild rice
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 lbs squash; roasted and diced
2 cans kernel corn
2 cups spinach; chopped
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 cups half and half
Saute onion and pepper in the bottom of a dutch oven or small soup pot with oil until browned. Add a cup of water and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add rest of water and wild rice. Add garlic powder, garam masala and black pepper Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for 45 minutes.
Add squash and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup.
Add corn, spinach and vinegar to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste test for seasoning, added salt as necessary.
In a separate skillet, brown sausage on all sides until heated through. Slice and set aside.
Stir half and half and parsley into soup; taste test and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soup hot topped with slices of sausage and slices of crusty bread.