I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

New Traditions

It is common practice for people to gather around the Thanksgiving table and say at least one thing that they are thankful for. This year I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Boy Toy's Thanksgiving celebration with new-found friends and his family.
For the past couple of years I've secretly wished for the chance to spend the holidays with Boy Toy and his kids but the timing in our relationship was just not right for that to happen. When the opportunity came about this year, I jumped on it like white on rice.
I am and have always been thankful for the time spent together with my family and have enjoyed numerous years of celebrating holidays with them. I was worried how my family would take the news that I would not travel home for either the Thanksgiving or the Christmas holiday and after I made the announcement, my parents were so torn up over it that they booked a trip to Cancun and my grandmother was so upset she bought a plane ticket to California. I'm sure my absence at Christmas will find them all sobbing on a safari in Africa.  All kidding aside, I'm thankful that my family has the health and well-being to travel and that they are supportive of my decision to start new family traditions.

And speaking of new traditions, serving soup as part of the Thanksgiving meal will be a new one for me. Boy Toy requested that I try to duplicate a pumpkin sausage soup like one he had had some years before and I went into this project blindly because I've never had pumpkin soup and I've always used pumpkin in a sweet connotation and never as savory. I tinkered with an Emeril Lagasse recipe that originally called for peeling, roasting and pureeing a pumpkin and while there are alot of things I will do for the Boy Toy, wrestling a whole pumpkin into the oven is not one of them.

The soup turned out well, got good reviews from the Boy Toy and will be a part of my new Thanksgiving tradition this year.  Enjoy the holiday traditions with your friends and family and give thanks for the time with them!

Pumpkin Soup with Italian Sausage
adapted from Emeril Lagasse, 2007

2 cans pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 leek, washed and sliced into rounds
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground sage
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Marsala wine
3 bay leaves
2 to 3 springs chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound fresh Italian sausage, crumbled (I used hot Italian turkey sausage)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, leeks, celery and 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, sage and brown sugar and saute until onions are soft and lightly golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add chicken broth, canned pumpkin, Marsala, and bay leaves and fresh herbs.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. 

In a medium saute pan, brown the sausage.  Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from the pan and add to soup and simmer another 10 minutes. 

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with grated cheese. 

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