Looking for a way to twist up that pumpkin spice? This soup goes beyond the expected for a lovely and cozy way to take in fall.
By Chrissy Barua
Tis the season for pumpkin! And for soup! Here’s the best of both, which gives an interesting twist on everyone’s favorite gourd by adding Chinese five spice powder. That, combined with the already wonderful flavors of sweet Italian sausage, makes for a hearty and comforting fall combination, with a little bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes.
Feel free to substitute pork sausage for the turkey sausage in this recipe if you wish. Also, if you can, use homemade stock. I first made this using Thanksgiving leftover stock, and it really did make a difference! The spinach is added at the end just before serving rather than cooked with the rest of the soup to keep it from getting brown and soggy. Garnish with a little cream for a bit of indulgence and tuck in for the coziest season of the year!
Five Spice Pumpkin and Sausage Soup
¾ lb. fresh sweet Italian turkey sausage links, removed from casing (about 2 large links)
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 heaping Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1 (14 oz.) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
5 cups unsalted turkey or chicken stock (homemade is best!)
1 cup fresh spinach, to serve
¼ cup heavy cream, to garnish
To a medium-sized stock pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break it up into bite-sized pieces and stir occasionally until browned thoroughly. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot and return the pot to the heat, keeping any sausage renderings and bits in the pan.
To the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add the butter and the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and five-spice powder, and let everything toast up another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the sausage back into the pot, add the pumpkin puree and the turkey stock and stir thoroughly until all is well mixed. Increase heat to medium-high again and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat again to a simmer until ready to serve. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, add ¼ of the spinach to each bowl, and pour the soup over the spinach and let it wilt. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.
Chrissy Barua is the author of her food and travel blog “The Hungary Buddha Eats the World,” a global culinary journey she started over six years ago in an attempt to make everyday food as interesting as the food she eats on her travels. She collects recipes from anywhere she can find: in-flight magazines, newspapers, books or, if she’s lucky, a grandmother willing to share a family secret. In real life, she’s an attorney based in Ann Arbor and spends her days supporting the basic sciences at the University of Michigan. She moonlights as a recipe developer for various online sources and is always dreaming of where to take her next vacation. Follow her antics on Instagram @thehungarybuddha, and check out her website thehungarybuddha.com for recipes, tips, tricks and travel adventures.