Love a hearty soup with something savory and crunchy on top? Then this recipe is for you! We love the combination of smoked sausage and sweeter pumpkin or squash, and the triple cheddar cheese crisps on top just take the dish to another level. In my opinion, they are the most important part of this meal! I love using Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Triple Cheddar Blend Shredded Cheese because of the quality and the combination of Medium White, Sharp and Medium Cheddar Cheese is incredibly flavorful. Try this store locator to find it near you!
As with any soup recipe, the ingredients are customizable and up to you! Currently, kale is in season but spinach or other hearty greens like shredded collards make a wonderful alternative. When making soup I follow the following guide, a kind of choose-your-own-adventure formula:
Start by sautéing aromatics
Heat olive oil, add onion or other allium (leeks, shallots, scallions) plus a combination of garlic, celery and sometimes carrot.
Deepen the base
Add flavor in the form of spices, herbs or pastes. Today I opted for harissa that will caramelize slightly and add a wonderful depth of flavor. Other options include tomato paste, curry paste, pestos or any herb pastes.
Give some body to it
Here’s where I add my protein or hearty vegetables. In this case, sausage and cubed kabocha squash which is starchy and will thicken the soup naturally.
Pick a liquid
Homemade chicken broth or smoked turkey broth is always my choice for flavor and using the Instant Pot to make it is very easy:
Simply save any bones while preparing meals and store them in the freezer until ready to use. For smoked turkey broth I purchase smoked turkey pieces from the local grocer (Benefit of living in the South). Place bones or smoked turkey pieces in your Instant Pot, cover with water, add some salt, a bay leaf and a few cloves of garlic then cook on high pressure for 2-3 hours. Strain and store in jars refrigerated for 1-2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months until ready to use
Add something fresh
Fresh herbs, quick cooking vegetables are next because the soup is almost done! Kale, zucchini, spinach or peas are great options.
Here comes the fun part. Usually I would grab a slice of crusty bread but in my continued effort to follow a ketogenic way of eating (Bonus because you can eat cheese!) I now prefer these easy triple cheddar herb crisps on top. Just that bit of crunch on top is enough to satisfy my cravings while keeping carbs in mind. It only takes 2 minutes in the microwave and the smell alone is heavenly!
The cheese crisps can absolutely be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Blot them very well with paper towels and they will remain crispy for longer. Making a small portion on demand is much easier though and takes no time at all!
I find that fresh herbs are best for flavor, but if they are not available then dried herbs work as well.
Sprinkle your soup with the triple cheddar cheese crisps right before serving, or place them on the side so that they do not become soggy.
Sausage, Squash and Kale Soup with Triple Cheddar Cheese Crisps
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 35 minutes | Serves: 6-8
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1lb smoked sausage, cut into discs
1lb cubed kabocha squash or pumpkin
3-4 cups broth of your choice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2-3 cups chopped curly leaf kale, stems removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream, freshly chopped herbs
Triple Cheddar Herb Crisps:
8-ounce package Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Triple Cheddar Blend Shredded Cheese
1-2 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, chives)
1. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and celery for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic, harissa paste, garlic powder and smoked paprika powder and sausage. Stir and allow to caramelize slightly.
2. Add kabocha squash, broth and thyme. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes or until squash is soft. Add kale within the last 5 minutes. I like to use a fork to break up some of the squash pieces and naturally thicken the soup. If it becomes too thick, simply add another cup of broth or water. Add heavy cream and serve with triple cheddar herb crisps (Recipe follows)
3. Portion 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on a microwave safe plate lined with a silicone baking mat. One 8 -ounce package makes 16 crisps. Sprinkle with herbs and microwave on high for 90 seconds and up to 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before blotting with a paper towel and gently peeling off your chosen surface using a spatula. Serve immediately.
This sponsored post was written by The Daley Plate on behalf of Tillamook but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!