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Have you ever heard of a North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash? Neither had I, until my friends, the Cramers, gifted me one! The only catch was that I had to blog whatever I made with it. I ended up making 3 recipes out of ONE SQUASH, and this soup was my favorite by FAR.
The Cramers run Cramer Farm & CSA out of Howard, PA (outside of State College). ZB and I were lucky enough to get a tour of their farm this summer, and we loved it so much! We got to meet their chickens (who provide us with 18 eggs each week), feed the pigs (thanks to them, I made what ZB deemed "the best BLT" he had ever had), and see their amazing variety of organic veggies - fields and hoop houses FULL of them.
So one fall Saturday, I stopped by the farmer's market to see Bruce, Lucy, and Diane -- and I left with this beast of a squash (and one of Lucy's muffins, of course!).
North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash grow into huge banana shaped pinkish-orange fruits, up to 15lbs in weight! With proper storage, they keep for up to 5 months, and the flavor improves with time. Starchy and sweet, this squash can be used in recipes that call for butternut squash or sweet potato (and vice versa)!
To prepare the North Georgia Candy Roaster:
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin
- Cut off a hunk of the squash (however much you need)
- Cut the squash in half
- Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds
- Chop as you wish (into a 1/2 - 3/4" dice for this recipe)
What's the deal with this soup?
- If you can't get your hands on a North Georgia Candy Roaster, I recommend butternut squash for this recipe.
- For the white beans, you can use cannellini, great northern, or navy beans.
- You can easily make this soup Whole30 compliant by leaving out the beans and parm (and by making sure you use compliant sausage and chicken stock)!
- It's kind of zuppa tuscana-esque and is SO hearty and delicious!
- Bump the heat up by adding more jalapenos, or reduce it by taking out the seeds or leaving the peppers out completely!
Squash, Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup
[Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free as written]
[For Paleo & Whole30, omit beans and parmesan cheese]
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb - 20oz Italian sausage (I used turkey sausage), casings removed
2 quarts of chicken stock + 2 cups of water
3-4 cups squash, 1/2 - 3/4" dice (Candy Roaster or Butternut - 2 - 2.5 lbs)
2 jalapenos, finely diced (add more for more heat - with 2 it was pretty mild)
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (omit for Whole30)
1 small bunch of kale, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
shaved parmesan cheese (optional, omit for Whole30)
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Saute garlic and onions, giving them a 2 min head start before adding the sausage to the pan.
- Brown the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks.
- Add chicken stock and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Add squash and jalapenos to the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the squash is just shy of fork tender.
TIP: Be careful not to over cook the squash! If you cut it smaller, it will cook faster. Keep testing it and add the kale when the squash is just shy of where you want it!
- Add the white beans and kale to finish the soup, stirring them in and continuing to cook for only a minute or two until beans are heated through and kale is wilted.
TIP: For a less bean-y soup, cut it to one can. You can add one, see how you feel about it, and add another if you want more!
- Serve and garnish with shaved parmesan cheese, if desired.