You may recall that one of the items from my fall fun list was "Make soup. So much soup. All the soup. Possibly get tired of soup." There was one soup in particular I was looking forward to making - Fall Sausage Minestrone. I found the recipe for this soup in Dishing Up Washington, a cookbook I was given as a Christmas gift a few years ago. Every recipe I've tried from it so far has become an immediate favorite, and this soup is no exception.
I must have made three or four batches of this soup last year. This was quite an achievement considering I refuse to make it with anything but elusive and very seasonal chanterelles. To me this soup is the perfect combination of fall flavors: the squash, mushrooms, and the sausage combine to make a rich, earthy, hearty soup that I can't get enough of. We'll see how many times make it this year - so far I'm only on batch number 1!
Fall Sausage Minestrone - Adapted from Dishing Up Washington
The original recipe made an enormous batch of soup, so after making it the first time, I've always halved it. Over time, I've made several other adjustments. I've replaced the acorn squash from the original with butternut squash, which I prefer the flavor of. I've also adjusted the quantity of most of the vegetables, and increased the amount of chicken broth as I find the recipe to be a bit too thick. As for cooking time, the recipe only calls for the soup to simmer for 15 minutes. I find the flavor of the celery far too overpowering after only 15 minutes, and always end up simmering it for much longer.
This is a very flexible soup, easily adapted to you own personal preferences.
1 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
4-5 large garlic cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomates
6 cups chicken broth
1 small butternut sqush, halved, seeded, and chopped
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 pound wild mushrooms, preferrably chanterelles
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it into the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage and most of the fat to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Add the oil to the pot, then heat the onions, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the onions soften, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and oregano; salt and pepper to taste; and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 15 minutes. Stir the sausage back in; then add the broth, squash, beans, and mushrooms; bring the soup to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are completely tender, about 45 minutes longer.
Season with additional salt and pepper before serving.