To make this dish, I start by roasting the kabocha squash in the oven. Then I get the butternut squash and onions sweating in sweet butter. Next they get simmered with some diced sweet fuji apples in a flavorful chicken stock. Finally all that goodness gets pureed with the caramelized, tender kabocha squash until the soup is creamy, yet surprisingly light and aromatic. For brightness, the soup gets seasoned with salt, cayenne pepper and a splash of vinegar. Tinkering with this recipe the other night, my friend and fellow cook Mike took the whole thing over the top by warming some pre-roasted pepitas in a pan with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and a drizzle of canola oil. This dish will make your dinner party guests swoon as it did ours. As the yield is quite large, you can cool down the soup and freeze it for a rainy a day.
*This original recipe was first published in The Riverdale Press Column What's Cooking
Serving Size: 10-12
1 medium size kabocha squash*, about 3-4 lbs.
Olive oil, as needed
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
2, 1 lb. packages cleaned, cubed butternut squash
4 Fuji apples, cut into large chunks, including skin
Kosher salt, as needed
6 cups chicken stock
Cayenne pepper, as needed
Splash of white wine or red wine vinegar
½ cup roasted pepita seeds (optional), for garnish
Pinch each cinnamon and ground nutmeg
Drizzle of canola oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the kabocha squash in half lengthwise and place seed side down on parchment paper. Rub lightly with olive oil. Bake for 1 hour or until slightly softened and caramelized.
Meanwhile, heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter and onions. Add the butternut squash and apples. Season 1 tsp. salt and sweat for 3-5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer 30-45 minutes just until butternut squash has softened. Remove the kabocha squash from the oven and discard seeds. Scoop the squash into the soup.
Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup. Return to pot and season with salt and cayenne. Whisk in a splash of vinegar.
To make the pepitas, heat a pan over medium heat. Add the pepitas, a small drizzle of canola oil and a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Move them around in the pan until just warm about 1-2 minutes.
Serve the soup and sprinkle with pepita seeds.
Kabocha squash is a large, round pumpkin usually dark green and slightly knobby on the outside. Seasonally available at local farmer’s markets, the cooked flesh of the kabocha squash has a smooth, creamy texture. If unavailable, you can replace with 2 small acorn squash.
Tip: When using butternut, acorn, kabocha, or spaghetti squash, try roasting first before removing the seeds. They’ll come out easily and save you some prep time.
You can cool this soup down and store in airtight containers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month.