Calabasa!!!

Well, the movie plan was ditched once again, this time because WFW forgot that he had agreed to meet a friend at 9:00 to play trivia at a local pub. So he got his calabasa soup at last.

The soup was both a success and a learning experience. First, the basic recipe, then the gory details.

Calabasa Soup

1 lb. hot Italian sausage (turkey or pork, but beware the turkey–see below)
Olive oil (or could use bacon fat if you’re using turkey) for sauteing
1 large chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large calabasa, seeded, basted with olive oil, roasted at 350 for about an hour, then scooped out
Enough chicken or other poultry stock to cover ingredients
Spices (adjust amounts below as needed)
Cumin (1 – 2 tbsp)
Cayenne (1 tsp or more to taste)
Cloves (1/2 tsp)
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown sugar (1 – 2 tbsp, depending on the ripeness of the calabasa)
Red pepper flakes (1 tsp or more to taste)
Cardamon (probably optional–about 1/2 tsp)

Saute onion over medium heat in large stock pot until onion, not stock pot, is translucent. Add garlic. Add sausage and brown. Puree calabasa and chicken stock in food processor or blender. Add to pot. Add spices and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. I suspect this would be best served the next day.

That’s what you should do. Now for what I actually did.

The ingredients in all their glory are to the left: the calabasa, prepared two nights ago when poor WFW gave up his movie; the hot Italian turkey sausage, which was neither hot nor really sausage (more on that below); the ubiquitous onion and garlic.

To the right is the turkey sausage beginning to brown. A lot. Note the hamburger/potato smasher to the left, which belonged to my grandmother and which I burned recently by leaving the handle too close to the stove eye.

This is what happens when you try to brown turkey sausage from the Farmer’s Market. Apparently there is NO FAT in turkey sausage. I suspose this is one of those things that should be painfully obvious since turkey sausage is one of those healthy things and because I bought it in an effort to, well, stave off the plumpness that is descending, but STILL.

And to the right is the half-cooked turkey sausage, removed from the pot before it had completely burned and stuck to the bottom. I added the onion and olive oil to the pot and scraped the sausage bits off the bottom to avoid further disaster. There was a moment when I contemplated frying some bacon in the bottom to add more delicious flavor, but it felt like too much trouble. Next time: Pork.

A friend–the first person besides WFW who has been told about this blog–suggested we add a Fred-O-Meter (Fred = WFW) to gauge the effectiveness of a particular cooking effort. It would be based on how many helpings he had. Despite the turkey sausage incident, this was still a 3-bowl success.
The only problem with the Fred-O-Meter is that he likes EVERYTHING I cook. He even liked Sunday’s spice mix, which he said tasted exactly like barbecue potato chip salt.
I felt a surge of triumph. I gave myself a high-five.

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