Butternut Squash Chowder

Most butternut squash soup recipe are more like a bisque, so I was really excited to try this chowder. It's delicious, a perfect fall meal with a nice slice of a hearty homemade bread.

1 medium butternut squash, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

12 cups chicken stock or broth

2 1/2 cups onions, chopped

1 cup wild rice

3/4 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch 

2 cups fresh or frozen corn 

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)

1) In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring 4 cups chicken stock and 1/2 cup of the chopped onion to a simmer.  Stir in rice and cook until rice is tender and the liquid absorbed, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Peel and seed the squash.
OR---Poke several holes in squash with fork.  Place in microwave for ABOUT 15 minutes, until it's soft.  Slice in half, scoop out and discard seeds and then scoop out the pulp.  Season with salt and pepper.

3) In a blender, puree the squash with 2 cups of the chicken stock.  Puree until smooth and set aside.

4) In a soup pot, over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil.  When the oil is hot, add the sausage and brown for 3 minutes.  Add the remaining 2 cups onion and corn.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 3 minutes.  Add the remaining 6 cups of stock and the squash puree.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.  Stir in the cooked rice and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  

5) Remove from heat, stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the parsley if desired.