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21 Oct 2011

Mediterranean onion-squash and sausage soup

Et voilà! A before and after shot....

Before and After - Mediterranean Onion-squash and sausage soup
What do I really want to talk about in this post, I still ask myself. I have been working on these pictures for the last days, a whole week actually, without really being satisfied with their appeal. I know I could have re-staged them but nah, that would be too easy nevertheless I ended up posting them here (not that I have any hope any of them will ever make its way on any of the food-porn sites we all know) but sometimes showing a failure can be more teaching than contemplating a perfect shot come out of Vogue's food section (if they ever had any that is). This pumpkin soup was as tasty as it can be, how can you go wrong when you include sausage in a meal, I ask myself. Though little chunks of crispy sautéed savory sausage meat in a bowl of sunset-orange pumpkin chunky-soup make the whole ensemble really look like dog food to your camera's eye. No cream swirl, no pretty scattering of whateva could really help here; the texture is what it is. It is homey, it is no fuss, it is cold-weather feel-good grub and it is good enough to share it with you all.
Nevertheless, being a perfectionist as I tend do be (a pain in the neck to myself at times) I had to try photoshopping in some parsley and actually it helped breaking a bit the dull texture.

Mediterranean Onion-squash and sausage soup
Today, sitting here with my daily cup of coffee at my favorite coffee-shop, I was wondering whether I wanted to read any of the bunch of books I should go through, stare into the eyes of the people passing by scaring the hibi-gibis out of them or do something more productive.
So here I am writing a letter to my Santas; no you are not all growing flowing white beards as we speak (I hope at least), but you all are as tender loving as the old Claus is.

Haven't had much pumpkin soup growing up, mostly because mom doesn't like mushy things; it isn't the same for daddy though.
The kind of pumpkin we mostly get down there often tends to be just a big blob of orange water rather than a yummy veggie to play with. What mom usually did with it was slice it, pan fry it and then season it with garlic and vinegar; a rather yummy combination when the pumpkin turned out to be actually sweet.
Occasionally, in those "cold" Sicilian winter nights, daddy's wish for mushy things extended to pumpkin and then mom simply stew the watery stringy thing again with a hefty portion of sliced garlic and black olives. Again a revelation when the pumpkin had any flavor at all and a proper texture.

Since when I live in Germany I have grown accustomed to the variety of squashes and pumpkins we find around here, though not being so much the mushy-things person (except for chicken feet in a Dim Sum orgy) I do not eat/cook so many soups hence the scarcity of these warming delicacies around here.

Friends around here love to cook the Hokkaido/onion variety of winter squash, why? Cause you do not even have to peel it! An sufficiently good reason in my book for a vegetable with as tough an outer layer as grandpa Simpson's one (the seeds are also quite plump and perfect for being roasted). So I got myself one of these lantern shaped deep red-orange beauty and started having fun with it; for the records I have been having squash-soup lunches since 1 week and all from the same squash but not all the same soup naturally. This is just because the onion squash is a rather dry one so what you see is what you get and it thickens up beautifully any kind of soup without the need for an immersion blender to help in the process.
May it be duck fond, anchovy paste or tomato concentrate, all of them created a great satisfying lunch when paired with the orange squash and ... evaporated milk! Yes, those little cartons are really god sent. The tawny colored thick liquor they contain makes a great base for a soup with no risk of curdling or excess fattiness (you can always finish your soup with half-a-stick of butter or a gooood glug of extra-virgin olive oil to take care of this).

So here we are; the ode to the onion squash is over even because I am left with just the last wedge in my fridge for tomorrow's lunch; how will I cook it?? For the moment let's enjoy this warming soup fit also for meat lovers.

Mediterranean Onion-squash and sausage soup
Mediterranean onion squash and sausage soup

Ingredients (serve 1 as entree):
  • 250g sausage meat (2 sausages)
  • Butter, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 200g Onion/Hokkaido squash, chopped
  • 1tsp tomato paste
  • 3tbsp dry white wine
  • Vegetable stock
  • Pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp evaporated milk or cream


Divide the sausage meat into small bite-sized pieces and sauté them in a hot pan. When nicely browned, add a nice chunk of butter and the onions. Let the onion sauté scraping the bottom of the pan of the meat fond and when it will have become translucent add the chopped squash. 
Stir, let the whole warm up and add then the tomato paste diluted in the white wine. Let the wine evaporate almost completely and add enough hot vegetable stock to cover the whole. 

Simmer the soup until the squash will be cooked. Season with salt and pepper and stir the soup to break some of the pumpkin and thicken the soup. 

Finish with a little evaporated milk or cream and serve.


  1. This looks like the perfect fall meal and anything with pork makes me happy!!!!

  2. Hi there. The current Food on Friday is all about sausages! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.