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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Bowl Full of Autumn: Spicy Sausage, Wild Rice, and Butternut Squash Soup

It's absolutely dumping rain here today, and on top of that it's windy. Not that it's too surprising... we do live in Washington State. But I can no longer deny that summer is over and fall has arrived. On the bright side, a day like today is perfect for making soup! Additionally, it's exactly the right kind of day to make soup with full-on fall flavors. Sausage, butternut squash, wild rice, and kale all simmered together into a bowl of Autumn.

I love this soup because it was the very first time I made something without a recipe. Until this point I had been notorious (as most people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen are) for using a recipe as a guideline and tweaking it to adjust to my own taste. After a couple months of making a variety of soups from different cookbooks,  I decided one day that I would try and make "Cause it Sounds Good Soup." Which is to say that I simply looked around the fridge and pantry, gathered what sounded delicious, and went for it. Stone Soup, so to speak.

The end result turned out to be one of my favorites. Unfortunately, my husband also loves it, so there is often a bit of treachery involved on my part to get my fair share. I'm not above hiding my 1/2 cup containers in the back of the freezer. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Spicy Sausage, Wild Rice, and Butternut Squash Soup
makes 9 cups

16 oz. hot Italian ground sausage (not links)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups. diced yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried oregano
2 carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 c. wild rice blend (I used Lundberg Wild Blend, a mix of wild & whole grain brown rice)
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced butternut squash (I'm sometimes lazy and buy this already diced for me)
2 cups chopped kale, center ribs removed

Heat heavy-bottomed soup pot with 1 T. olive oil. Add sausage and cook until it is all the way cooked through, breaking up with a spoon as you go. Remove sausage from pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

Add onion to pot and sautee until soft, but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add in garlic and sautee additional 30 seconds. Stir in red pepper flakes, thyme, and oregano and sautee another 30 seconds. Add rice, carrots, and celery and sautee around 4 more minutes, or until carrots and celery soften slighty. Add back in the sausage and the chicken broth.

Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered, stirring occassionally, for approximately 30 minutes, or until rice is al dente. Add kale and butternut squash and simmer (still covered) another 5 minutes, or until squash is just tender and kale is cooked down. Serve with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.

This soup thickens quite a bit upon standing. When you reheat it, you can add additional broth to thin it a bit.


  1. Hey, you have to do what you have to do!! I always have to take out for myself and hide it before serving it, or I would only get the couple of tablespoons with the meal! lol. The soup looks absolutely delicious and I am sure my family will love it too!

  2. I'm 4 weeks post surgery (sleeve) and this soup is amazing! My husband LOVES it and I'm thrilled with the freezer stash we now both have. I also made and love your edamame soup! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. PLEASE keep posting! They are seeing me through this pivotal time. Annette

  3. @Kenda, hope your family likes it as much as we do!

    @Annette, good luck with your journey... it is SO worth it!