My home has become the holiday hub for my family, and I love it! Thanksgiving and Christmas bring my sister and brother-in-law from Tyler and Emily and Johnny from Dallas to Abilene. Every bed in the house is full and someone is always looking for a bite to eat. I try to meal prep and have lots on hand so that I don’t have to spend all my time in the kitchen. The crowd usually begins rolling in mid-afternoon on Wednesday and the stories and laughter begin. Several years ago, I decided to make a big pot of soup that I could assemble early in the day and just let simmer until dinner.
A friend of mine shared this recipe with me and it instantly became a favorite. It combines some of fall’s yummy flavors, butternut squash and sage, with Italian sausage, spinach, and a dash of red wine. Complete comfort and deliciousness in a bowl! I like to serve crusty wheat or sourdough bread (from Salty Roan) alongside the soup. To save time, I usually buy the butternut squash that is already chopped in small pieces at the grocery store-this cuts out a huge chunk of time. Sometimes, I roast it before adding it to the soup for another layer of flavor. The red wine can also be skipped, I just like the little extra something it adds.
As always, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. I think you will be pleased, and your family will enjoy it. I hope your holiday season is filled with friends, fun, and lots of fabulous food. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas Wishes from my family to yours!
Italian Sausage & Butternut Squash Soup
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 ½ cups onion, diced
2 Tbs roasted garlic
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1” chunks (or 1 pkg frozen)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp ground dried sage
1 tsp sugar – taste before adding the sugar, I don’t typically add it
2 cups baby spinach
Splash of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown sausage in 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked
Drain on a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
- Sweat onion and garlic in 1 Tbs olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until soft, 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add squash and red pepper flakes, and sauté 5 minutes.
- Stir in chicken broth and water, bring to a boil, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 10 minutes.
- Puree soup with a hand blender (or in batches in a standard blender), then add bell pepper, cream, sage, and sugar; simmer until bell pepper is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in red wine and sausage, and simmer until the sausage is heated through. I add the spinach at the very last minute and let it wilt slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper throughout the cooking process.
- Garnish with red pepper, parsley, and a drizzle of good olive oil.
A special thank you goes to Caaren @silvervalleytablescapes for helping me create the perfect casual Thanksgiving tablescape! I love all the fun colors and layers she put together!
By Nancy Roberts
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography