The Best Kabocha Squash Soup




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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. 

  • 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. Vegetable Stock with mushrooms
  • 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

1- Place a large (5-qt) heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat for 1 minute.

2- 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 infuse their flavor into the onion/celery mixture.

3- Add squash and stir to combine with the spices. Add the rest of the stock and season lightly, or to taste, with ground black pepper. 

4- 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.

5- Working in batches, ladle some of the solids and liquid in a bender to no more than 1/2 full, and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a large container, and continue adding more solids and more liquid to the blender, processing until smooth. Repeat if necessary.

6- Pour the blended soup back into the pot, and rewarm just before serving.

7- 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.

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