Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting hit with The Bird and Squashing Dinner!

I got hit by a bird today...

...Nope, I don't mean that as any kind of metaphor for the direction my life is going. I literally had a bird fly into my arm as I was walking into work. I didn't know they did that! But who am I to judge? Clearly the little dude had far too much to drink last night and was attempting a "wing of shame" when I stepped directly in his path and made him look ridiculous in front of the rest of the flock! On that note, I am blaming the fact that I haven't posted a recipe I made Monday until today on being a victim of bird-on-human makes sense, just go with it.

Anyway, on Monday The Roommate found an interesting recipe on iVillage for sausage links simmered in a "stew" of pumpkin and other veggies. Well, I was in the mood for some soup and had cajun sausage left over from the shrimp and grits so I thought I'd try it out.

It was super easy, relatively fast, and absolutely delicious. The broth was much more flavorful than I anticipated! Obviously ya can't find pumpkin as easily in August, so I used a butternut squash, which added a depth and sweetness I definitely didn't expect. The Roommate and I both agreed that we instinctively knew we preferred the squash to pumpkin!

I also used Emril's Essence, but you can also use half a teaspoon of each of the ingredients in Essence as well-paprika, garlic powder, italian seasoning (or oregano and thyme), black pepper, onion powder, and 1/8tsp of cayenne pepper-these should give you a similar taste. Anyway, enough talk. Let's Cook....

Squash that Stew! 4-6 servings

      2 Tbsp olive oil
      4 italian sausage links (any kind of sausage links work here-I used cajun), chopped
      1 medium onion, chopped  
      3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
      1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped in 1" squares
      1 potato, chopped
      8 oz mushrooms, sliced
      1 tsp ground cumin (I went out and bought cumin for this!)
      1 can white beans, drained
      4c chicken broth
      2 bay leaves
      1/2 Tbsp Emril's Essence (or 1/2tsp of each ingredient)

In a dutch oven-or heavy-bottom 6 qt pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, 4-5 min, stirring continuously-set aside on a plate.

Add the onions and cook until translucent, 4-5 min. Add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil and return sausage to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook for 20-25 min until squash and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Remember to remove bay leaves before serving! Serve with bread for dipping.

This soup was light and fresh, just what you want in an end-of-summer evening meal! My favorite part-it reheats in the microwave really well and made everyone at the office jealous because it had an incredible aroma! Don't ask questions, you just need to Squash It!