Pumpkin Sausage Kale Soup

Mom was looking for a recipe to finish up a can of pumpkin puree that she’d just taken a spoonful out of. We look for recipes to enhance not only our diet, but that of my younger sister who is on a very restrictive diet for medical reasons. While surfing around the internet, Mom found Denise Wright’s recipe (you can find the original here). She made a few changes, and we ended up with a great soup that would make a fantastic lunch but is also light enough for a late-night bowl of something before bedtime after working a long, late shift (Yes, I know. Oddly specific.). Here’s our version:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings off. (we used a turkey sausage)
​15 oz. can of pure pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups baby kale, chopped (or spinach)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cups coconut milk, for preferred consistency
pinch of cayenne
1 Tablespoon butter

1. In a soup pot, add olive oil and brown sausage, breaking it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Add peppers, sea salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes.

3. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, and greens (kale or spinach) and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in butter and cayenne to taste.

5. Enjoy.

We found that the cayenne intensifies as the soup sits, so the nearly imperceptible amount when we first tasted it was much more intense when I came in late and nuked a bowl for dinner. It’s something to keep in mind when adding the cayenne. Also, Mom isn’t much for the Middle Eastern spices, but I love Middle Eastern food, and I think this recipe would be incredible with some cumin, turmeric and ginger.

Buttery Crab Soup

I’ve gotten a lot of different and strange things as tips in my years as a hotel front desk agent. I’ve had boxes of candy, a fifth of vodka, a genuine linzer torte, and Starbucks. The strings, though, was when a group of hunters gave me a bag of five cooked and cleaned Dungeness crabs.

I ate one when I got home, but I did have that sense of “What am I supposed to do with these?” While I was at work the next day, Mom shelled them all, so I came home to a large dish of crab meat and endless possibilities. As it was chilly out, I opted for soup.

I love bisques, but I’m fundamentally lazy by nature. It was one thing to throw everything in a pot and call it soup, another altogether to have to actually work at it. I found a great paleo recipe for bisque on Jaime Hartman’s website, Gutsy by Nature, and then used most of those ingredients to make my own recipe. You can find the original right here. This is what I did:

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced to about 1/4 inch
1 med. white onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock or bone broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lb shredded Dungeness crab meat.
Cayenne to taste (optional)

1. In a large soup pan, saute carrots, onions, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning in butter for about 10 minutes.

2. Add coconut milk and stock, then bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until carrots are soft.

3. Add lemon juice, crab, and cayenne (optional) and stir until all ingredients are hot.

4. Enjoy.

Be aware, if you use cayenne, that the cayenne increases in intensity as it sits. So the spiciness of the soup on day one will not be intense as the spiciness on day two, and so forth.