i just love squash. besides eating them raw, what can't you do with them? boil 'em, mash 'em, put 'em in a stew. the famed butternut, widely loved for its mellow, inoffensive flavor has sat proudly at the top of my list for quite some time. acorn squash, spaghetti squash, summer squash, pattypan squash, pumpkin -- they're all great in their own right, especially when prepared well, with plenty of salt, fat, and a touch of sweetness (maple syrup always shines here).
the other day, lauren brought a few small kabocha squashes back from her farm stand. i've heard nothing but good things about kabocha (from very, very trustworthy sources, no less). in fact, i once heard a local farmer scoff at the mention of acorn squash, replying, "i only eat kabocha squash." i figure you can't really argue with a farmer when it comes to matters of produce. you grow - you know.
so i was really excited about these kabocha (kabochi?), cute as can be:
i wanted to make a soup, and decided to go commando in the kitchen: no recipe! i made up one of my own that turned out really quite well, and i'm happy to share it here.
The Mighty Boch - dairy, soy and wheat free - holla!!
the ingredients, in order of use:
2 small to medium kabocha squashes, peeled and cut into rough quarters or sixths
2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed well, and cut in half lengthwise
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil (not extra virgin -- something with some body)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
big pinch of coarse sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cups water or diluted vegetable broth, plus more to thin soup if needed
black truffle oil (optional)
- preheat the oven to 425 F.
- bring some water to a boil, then pour on top of the walnuts. you want these to soak for as long as possible. if you're using a buillon cube to make veg broth, the boiling water can be used to get that started, too. set that all aside.
- pour the olive oil into a shallow dish. mix in the paprika, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper.
- brush the spicy olive oil mixture onto the squash, carrots and onion. place these all on a lightly oiled or silpat-ed baking sheet.
- roast the hell out of 'em! 30 - 45 minutes depending on how well you actually let the oven preheat. the veggies should be really, really tender, easily pierced with a fork, almost falling apart.
- drain the walnuts.
- once slightly cooled, add the roasted squash and veggies to a saucepan and add the water or broth and dump in the softened walnuts. bring everything to a boil, then bring it down to a simmer. let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- turn the heat off and let the mix cool down some.
- either working in batches in a food processor, or using your immersion blender, blast the whole mix into a silky golden soup. you may need to add some water to thin it out.
- really take your time with this step, to get the soup really smooth. the walnuts can add some grit, but you can work through this with patience, unrelenting blending. the walnuts also add a lovely richness and protein, so put in the extra elbow grease.
- finish with a tiny swirl of truffle oil, if you wish. believe the hype: this really takes it to the next level. also, salt and pepper to taste.
- voila! kabocha soup's on.