Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kabocha Squash Soup

For the past couple of weeks, clouds loomed overhead, making everything look so dark and dreary. I felt the need to make something warm and comforting. Thus came to mind the makings of this soup. It did the trick and lifted my spirits up. Thoughts of having it for leftovers made me look forward to coming home after a long day of work. This soup made me forget my worries (for the moment, at least). Comfort food at its best!

The cooking process takes a little over an hour. Please do not let it daunt you though, sometimes, a long cooking process is almost therapeutic.

You start with cutting the squash open and giving it an olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage rub. Then you roast it for about half an hour. On the upside, if you roast the squash before putting it into a soup, you won’t have to deal with all the pain that comes with removing the thick skin off. All you need to do is scoop out the now softened flesh and dump it into a pot with the chicken broth.

While the squash is roasting, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients and sauté them. You just set aside the sautéed veggies and throw it into the soup when cooking time is almost over.  

Kabocha squash has a rich texture and a natural sweetness which makes for a good, savory soup. Since I like to chew my food, I stir fried some vegetables to give this soup a delicious, chunky oomph. The addition of earthy Shiitake mushrooms and juicy bell peppers adds character to the soup and the fresh ginger lends a nice, spicy warmth and zing.

This rich and creamy squash soup is what you need for cold and rainy days. If food can feel like a warm hug, this is it.   


Kabocha Squash Soup (Makes 4 servings)

2.4 lbs. Kabocha squash (more or less)
olive oil
fresh sage leaves
pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 pieces shiitake mushrooms, torn into small pieces
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 inch nub of ginger, crushed and minced
2 ½ cups chicken broth
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp allspice
fresh basil, to garnish

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice the squash in half or quarters and scoop out seeds and strings. Place the squash pieces in a roasting pan. Slather the flesh with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Scatter the sage leaves on top and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients.   

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, sauté the garlic until it turns golden brown. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to soak up the oil. Toss in the ginger and let cook for about a minute until it is fragrant. Stir in the diced bell pepper and let cook until it glistens, about 2 minutes. Turn the burner off and remove the pan away from the heat. Set aside.

Allow the squash to cool down first before handling it. Burning your fingers is not worth it! In my case, I roasted it the day before and kept it in the refrigerator. Scoop the squash pulp into a medium size pot. Pour in the chicken broth and cover. Turn the heat on to medium and bring to a rolling boil. Once the broth is boiling, remove the cover and mash the squash with a potato masher, a fork, or a thick wooden spatula (what have you). The first mash will still leave you with some chunks, that’s ok.

Cover the pot partially and allow to boil for another 3-5 minutes. Mash some more until the squash resembles a puree. Turn the heat down to medium low and let cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes until the soup thickens. Stir in the sauteed vegetables, pour the heavy cream, and toss in the allspice. Let cook for 10 more minutes. Taste and see if you need salt and pepper, I didn’t need to add any.

Serve hot with a garnish of fresh basil. Best enjoyed with some good bread, or better yet, a radish with fleur de sel bruschetta.



  1. Gah I wish I could find more kabocha around here since it is seriously my favorite but it has been hiding from me. This soup sounds like the perfect way to cure those rainy/gray day blues!

  2. This looks fantastic! It would definitely make me want to come home to leftovers for sure!


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