It was a glorious day when I discovered that pumpkins were not just for carving into Jack O’ Lanterns but, in fact, could be cooked into delicious soups, mashes and even lasagna! Since then, I look forward to the bounty of winter squashes that comes this time of year. I recently made a kabocha-pumpkin soup which was simple and full of flavor and color. This year we grew a variety of winter squashes including: Cinderella pumpkins, mini pumpkins, Lakota squash , butternut, Sucrine du Berry (an heirloom French variety) and sugar pie pumpkins. Plus, some fun gourds that grow as volunteers every year and, thanks to our bees for their cross-pollinating work, are always a surprise as to their shape and color.
Here is my ode to fall and All Hallows Eve:
KABOCHA-PUMPKIN SQUASH SOUP
I wanted a bit of eastern flavors so I went with curry seasonings*, but you can omit those spices and just stick with the basic recipe, or add other spices/herbs that you really like (i.e thyme or sage would be good flavors).
* ingredients that you can omit or substitute with thyme, sage and lemon juice
Ingredients – Serves 4 to 6
- 1 small to medium kabocha squash and 1 small sugar pie or Cinderella pumpkin or other winter squash like butternut
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
- 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
- 1 – 3 TBSP curry powder*
- 4 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken if you are not vegetarian) and/or use coconut milk* for ½ liquid
- 1-2 TBSP lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Dash of hot pepper flakes*
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro* or other herbs if you are not using curry flavors
Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- Carefully cut the squashes in half, scoop out the seeds (and save for toasting if you are very ambitious), then cut into wedges (see photo).
- Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little oil and place them cut side up on a large roasting pan. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork and it is beginning to get brown around the edges.
- While squash is roasting and cooling, add onions, garlic, carrots, ginger and spices to a big soup pot/dutch oven and saute until veggies are soft but not brown.
- Add stock (and coconut milk if using)
- Once cooked squash has cooled scoop out the pulp and add to the sautéed vegetables in the pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
6. Using an immersion blender (another of my very favorite kitchen gadgets) blend the mixture until smooth and creamy. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to your taste and a bit of hot pepper flakes if you want extra zip. If it is too thick, add a little more stock or coconut milk or even cream if you want. If it is too thin, cook at very low heat until it thickens a bit. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!
“Garnish with herbs & savor the flavors of Fall”