We ultimately decided not to participate yesterday when the trick or treaters were out and about in our neighborhood (yeah, we live in one of those places), but there were far more kids out than in previous years and we ended up regretting our decision not to buy a bunch of inexpensive Halloween party favors to give out. The kids were just too stinkin’ cute.
On a more positive note, I became a little weary of my clothes falling off of me and went shopping Saturday for new shirts and underwear; pants are problematic because I’m so short – Liz Claiborn is just about the only brand these days that makes jeans and slacks that fit me well and don’t look like they belong on a 17-year-old streetwalker (or my grandmother), and we didn’t want to drive an hour and a half to the outlet mall. At any rate, I am officially down 4 sizes since beginning our new way of eating. Boo-yah.
Anyhoo, it’s Halloween, so what better recipe to post than one that showcases pumpkin?
Variations of Pumpkin Sausage Soup have been floating around the internet for years; I’ve heard people say that it’s the next best thing to warm chocolate souffle with homemade vanilla bean ice cream, and I’ve heard people say it’s pretty “meh.” I’d never tried it myself, and since there are so many different recipes for it I decided I’d just wing it and make something that sounded good to me.
And boy, howdy – is it good. It’s not a terribly creamy soup, like the Curried Squash Soup I posted recently, but it is rich and hearty and VERY filling. Since I used hot Italian sausage as opposed to a sage-flavored one, I also seasoned it with basil, oregano and thyme; nor did I bother with any onion or other aromatics, since the sausage and herbs gave it more than enough flavor.
You can substitute fresh pumpkin with canned, if you prefer – 3 cups should suffice – but you’ll miss out on the lovely roasted sweetness cooking your own will impart. And, as always, you can use a turkey sausage if you wish to avoid pork.
Pumpkin Sausage Soup
serves 8, generously
1 whole pumpkin, about 3 pounds
2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup coconut milk or heavy cream
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds and strings in the center and discard. Rub the cut side of the pumpkin with a little olive oil and place, cut side down, on a foil-covered, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin in easily pierced with a fork. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Cook the sausage in a heavy skillet over medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula, until it is lightly browned and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. Pour all but one cup of the chicken stock into a medium-sized stock pot and set over low heat. Scoop the pumpkin out of the shell and place it in a food processor with the reserved cup of chicken stock; process until it becomes a smooth puree.
Whisk the coconut milk or cream into the chicken stock, then stir in the pumpkin mixture and sausage; add the oregano, basil and thyme. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Nutrition (per serving): 356 calories, 23.9g total fat, 50.3mg cholesterol, 761.5mg sodium, 1013.3mg potassium, 20.6g carbohydrates, 1.1g fiber, 6.1g sugar, 16.2g protein.