Butternut Squash, Smoked Sausage, and Wild Rice Soup

Vandal Butternut Squash Coconut Milk SoupSweet and savory, this harvest-inspired soup embodies the traditions of Thanksgiving and radiates Vandal pride. Underscoring this favorite is a smooth blend of Palouse-grown roasted squash, onions, and garlic. Suffused with blend of aromatic spices, it is coupled with wild rice and the University of Idaho’s smoked Vandal sausage. Earthy and golden, this soup will placate the palate while the game tumbles on. One spoonful and your gratification—for family, friends, food, and football—will deepen.
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By: Colleen McCormick

Yield: 8-10 servings
Oven: 400 F Bake: 1 hour (for squash)

Ingredients:
• 2 medium butternut squash (about 3 ½ pounds)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Dash of salt and pepper
• 8-10 cups low sodium chicken stock, depending on your desired consistency
• 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• ½-1 pound Vandal sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds, then quartered
• 1 ½ cups milk, half-and-half, or cream
• 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
*Squash:
Halve and seed the squash. Season with1 tablespoon of the oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast until fork tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. When cool, peel and cut into small sections. Using a traditional or stick blender, combine squash with 2 cups chicken stock and puree until smooth; set aside. (Remember to combine relatively equal amounts of liquid to each batch if using a traditional blender.)

*Rice:
In a saucepan combine 3 cups of the chicken stock with the bay leaves and wild rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about an hour. Discard bay leaves, fluff with fork, and let stand.
*Both of the above steps can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to create the soup.
The soup:
At medium heat in a large stockpot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Brown the sausage for about 3 minutes. Add onions and garlic, sautéing for another minute or two, until the onions are translucent. Drain excess fat. Add the squash puree and remaining chicken stock (3-5cups), stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in rice and seasonings. Cook uncovered for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the milk. Top each bowl with parsley and serve hot. Enjoy with family and friends.