Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Tasso & Crispy Sage

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Tasso & Crispy Sage
by Willie & Sandra Simmons
adapted from a recipe by Aviva Goldfarb at The Six O'Clock Scramble

Willie and I have a long history with Aviva and her Six O'Clock Scramble. We started as customers, but as it usually goes with Willie and me, we became friends with Aviva and have been testing recipes for her for several years now. But the night I was to test this recipe was just one of those nights. I was sick. I got all of the ingredients ready and I could not go any further. Willie was right there, as usual, my white knight. He cooked this soup right up and fried up some tasso for me because I just knew it would be perfect with this wonderful soup. And I was right. And Willie's cooking was divine. 

I love this because it's a little sweet, a little salty, a little spicy, and a lot perfect. Please try it with the tasso. You won't regret it. 

2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 butternut squash, 2-3 pounds, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, or use 1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, preferably homemade
2 Tablespoons apple cider
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
about 20 fresh sage leaves, whole
1/2 - 1 cup Teet's Smoked Pure Pork Tasso, diced (Use as garnish or add more because you can't help yourself.)

In a large stockpot, melt half the butter over medium heat, and when it is bubbling, add the onions. After about 3 minutes, add the squash and apples, and sauté with the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, ginger, and cinnamon and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the broth, raise the heat, and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer it for 15 minutes, reducing the heat as needed, until the squash is tender. Puree the soup in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining butter and the oil over medium to medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the sage leaves and cook them until they are brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Remove them from the heat.

You can heat the tasso in the same skillet after removing the sage leaves. Cook until heated through or cook it a little longer until it begins to get a little crispy. I heated my tasso in a dry cast iron skillet.

Stir the apple cider into the soup, and serve it hot, seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste, and topped with crumbled leaves of crispy sage and tasso. Alternatively, refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. 

P.S. The crispy sage is out of this world!

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