it's been a dreary weekend here in greensboro, overcast clouds with spurts of rain and drizzle. of course, the weatherman didn't predict anything close to this. surprised? me neither. to top things off, delana was not only having to work but she was having to open which meant a 3:30 wake up call. looks like mother nature felt our pain and decided to share it with the rest of the city. i got up with her and stayed up, flipping through the new april issue of gourmet and channel surfing till i decided to watch the last episode of top chef that i had recorded a few nights earlier but failed to watch.
once i had gotten through that and had breakfast, i started thinking about what i could cook to help kill some time. i sat down and once more flipped through my new gourmet, not really finding anything in there that i wanted to take on either due to lack of ingredients or equipment since the issue was centered around italy's different pasta dishes according to region. i then went into the bedroom and grabbed some older issues of bon appetit and other gourmet's as well as a williams sonoma and cooking light cookbook. i looked through the recipe indexes of what i had grabbed, still no inspiration. i decided to take a break and throw some laundry in and make a dash to the store.that's where i found it.my discovery was completely unexpected and unintentional, i wasn't looking for it. i didn't even know what it was. what is this it i speak of? butternut squash.
normally, i only buy butternut squash when i know i'm going to fix beans. the squash helps thicken the sauce from the beans and gives it a nice depth of flavor. i learned that from my mother. this time i hadn't planned on making beans but the more i thought about it, the better it sounded. however, i knew i didn't want rice which is what i normally have when i fix beans. it just wasn't a rice and beans kind of day. i wanted something a little richer, something to not only fill me but warm me. what to use in place of rice? ahah! sausage. i had some sundried tomato and basil chicken sausage that had originally been intended to go with pasta? but this sounded better. the great thing about this dish is that it's one of those things that you can make hours- even a day- earlier to have for later and you only have to dirty one pot, yes one. plus it makes for great leftovers. granted, there weren't any leftovers this time but take my word because i've had enough leftover beans to know that they taste just as good if not better the next day. this experience comes with living in a part puerto rican household.
Red Bean and Squash Soup with Italian-Style Sausage
- 1 tbs of olive oil
- 2 Italian Style Sausage Links- ( i imagine Andouille sausage would be just as good), sliced into about 1" pieces
- 2.5 c of diced butternut squash
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- cracked black pepper
- Splash of red wine
- 1/8 tsp of crushed red pepper - (less if you are using a spicy sausage)
- 2 c of cooked light red kidney beans (i used canned and rinsed them)
- 2.5 tbs of tomate paste
- 2.5 c of water or chicken stock
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Once oil begins to shimmer, add sliced sausage and allow to brown on each side- should take 2-3 minutes. Remove sausage and add diced butternut squash. If necessary, add more oil to prevent squash from sticking.
Once the squash has browned on both sides, remove and add onion and minced garlic.Season with crushed red pepper,salt and cracked pepper and allow onion to soften, about 5-6 minutes. Proceed to add a splash of red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any stuck on bits. Once done add beans,tomato paste and water. Bring mixture to boil and then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. If you find that the soup has gotten too thick while simmering, feel free to add more water or stock. This can be served with a good crusty bread and nice big, salad of mixed greens.
Question: What's your favorite rainy day, comfort food staple?