Monday, January 17, 2011

A Favorite Monday Night Tummy Warmer

I always get a very positive reaction when the kids hear I'm making Pumpkin-Sausage Soup.  I first got this recipe from Joe, AKA Gardenguru1950, on the Gardenweb Cooking Forum.  His posted version was a little different...without the beans and using link sausages.  The original recipe made an excellent tasting soup that was a little thin for my taste, and the ingredients tended to be a little expensive compared to some of the soups I make.  We like to have soup alone with a just a whole grain roll or slice of French bread, and this one seemed to need more to make a meal.  I found that by adding the beans, I could increase the fiber and protein content, make a larger amount without having to multiply the meat and other ingredients, and by blending them in, created a heartier and thicker soup.  I am generous with the seasonings so the flavor doesn't seem to be diminished at all.

I now make this in my Vollrath Tribute 16-quart Stock Pot, which results in approximately 12 quarts of soup.  Since you probably don't want to make that much, I'll give you the recipe cut in half...And you can certainly half it again, if you'd like.

Pumpkin-Sausage Soup

2 cups dry Navy or White Kidney Beans, cooked until tender,
    or 5 - 6 cups (3 15-oz cans) of canned white beans, rinsed
Place drained beans in large pot and set aside.

3/4 to 1 lb bulk Hot Italian sausage (or use my homemade alternative from Make-Your-Own-in-a-Jiffy Sausage)
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 Tablespoon each dried parsley, oregano, and basil
1 28-oz can or 4 cups pureed pumpkin
8 cups chicken broth
1 12-oz can evaporated milk, or 1 1/2 cups whole milk or cream
Salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese

In skillet, brown sausage.  Drain fat, if necessary.  Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and herbs.  Add sausage-mixture to beans in the pot and mix in pumpkin.  Add broth and simmer 30 minutes. 

Blend with stick blender or hand mixer right in the pot, or blend in batches in a food processor or blender, then return to pot.

Stir in milk and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve in bowls with shredded Parmesan sprinkled on top.

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