Seriously, this is everyone’s favorite soup — a recipe from my Chef mentor, Alfred Portale, but made with the “Eydie” treatment: subbing out veggie stock for chicken stock, cooking without oil and using minimal salt. When I first made this soup, I followed the recipe to a “t,” but I promise you, giving it the “Eydie treatment” made it healthier, and did not alter the flavor one iota!
I must admit, I really did not look forward to making this soup because peeling the very tough Kabocha squash is so very difficult. I tried peeling it with a sharp chef’s knife, then a peeler. My hands would ache and bleed! It was impossible. Now, thanks to the Internet, I learned that all you have to do is poke holes in the squash with a knife all over and place it in the microwave. Depending on the size (I used 2 (3) lbs. squash, this time) and microwaved it for 5 minutes. Let it cool, then it is so very easy to peel and seed with a Chef’s knife.
The Best Kabocha Squash Soup
Servings: 6 (but it’s so good, maybe just 4!) I also serve this as a shooter and this will feed about 15 (2-3 oz. portions)
- ½ medium yellow onion, peeled and diced (about ⅔ cup)
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 TB fenugreek seeds, ground in a spice grinder
- 1 TB grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- ¼ tsp. Ground cloves
- 1 large Kabocha squash, or 2 smaller ones (about 5 lbs), peeled, seeded and diced into 2” pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 qt. Earthy Vegetable Stock
- Course salt to taste (optional)… Stir in just a tiny bit for each bowl, just before serving
- 1 Granny Smith apple, diced very small
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 TB finely chopped chives
- Place a large (5-qt) heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat for 1 minute.
- Add onions and celery and sauté until translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the fenugreek, ginger, garlic, and cloves and sauté for 1 minute. Add a tablespoon or 2 of vegetable stock to help the spices flavor the onion/celery mixture.
- Add squash and stir to combine with the spices. Add stock and season lightly with pepper, and salt, if using.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the stock to a boil, then cover, lower the heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, put some of the solids and liquid in a bender and process until smooth. Pour into large container, and continue adding more solids and more liquid to the blender, processing until smooth. Repeat if necessary
- Pour the blended soup back into the pot, and rewarm before serving.
- To serve: Ladle the soup into warmed wide, shallow bowls, or for an hors d’oeuvre, ladle into small cups. At this point you can add just a pinch of salt to each serving and stir. Garnish with a scattering of apple, pumpkin seeds and chives.