This recipe is courtesy of Chef Brian Wilson of North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, NY. It's the best way to use those delicious kabocha squashes that are in season during the autumn months. Garnish the soup with whipped creme fraiche or yogurt, olive oil, flavored oils, nuts, croutons, herbs or anything else your heart desires!
- 3 medium sized kabocha squash, split in half and seeds removed
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 ribs celery, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 bunch thyme, leaves removed from stems
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds, ground
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 Teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place the split and cleaned squash halves with their 'cups' facing up. Evenly distribute 2 tbsp oil and then 1 tbsp salt over the halves. Then, evenly distribute half of the thyme leaves into each cup. Flip the halves over and roast, skin-side up in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and can be easily pierced with a knife.
While the squash is cooking, start the base of the soup. Heat a large saucepot over medium heat. Melt butter with 2 tbsp olive oil, Stir in diced onion, celery, fennel, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, coriander, star anise, cinnamon, and 1 tbsp salt. Cover with lid, just slightly ajar to allow a little steam to escape. Adjust the heat to allow the vegetables to maintain a gentle sautee level. Sautee the vegetables for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender.
When the squash is done roasting, remove the squash "meat" from the skin, using a spoon to scrape it off. Collect all the squash in a bowl, ensuring that the meat is clean from any remaining pieces of skin.
When the soup base vegetables are tender, add the kabocha squash meat into the pot with the vegetables, and stir to mix all ingredients well. Recover with lid and allow the ingredients to sautee for an additional 10 minutes, stirring regularly so the squash doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot.
After 10 minutes, add the vegetable stock, stirring well to ensure the squash and vegetables are completely mixed. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all ingredients are completely tender.
Add the heavy cream. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
Allow the soup to cool and blend in small batches on a very low setting. The vent hole on the top of the lid should not be covered or blocked completely, to allow the hot steam to escape. A folded towel placed over the open vent hole can help with the escaping steam. Once the ingredients start to break down and the soup comes together, gradually increase the speed of the blender to a high speed, to help the soup achieve a velvety texture. Run the blender for each batch approximately 45 seconds - 1 minute. Once each batch is fully blended and smooth, strain the soup through a strainer to ensure any remaining spices or stem pieces do not remain.
Once all the batches are blended and strained, mix the final soup well with a whisk. Check for seasoning and for consistency. Add more cream for a richer soup, or more vegetable stock if a thinner soup is desired.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls, garnish with whipped creme fraiche or yogurt, olive oil, flavored oils, nuts, croutons, herbs or anything else your heart desires!