I’ve met my new favorite squash and its name is Kabocha (Ka-bow-cha). It’s an Asian variety of winter squash. And I have no idea how it’s even possible that I am just now discovering it.
Kabocha has a natural sweetness and the perfect texture for a pureed soup. It’s so sweet that I may play around and come up with a dessert recipe for it. For this soup, I thought it would be nice to add some savory elements to balance the sweetness, so I added shallots, garlic, hazelnuts and sage. The crispy sage makes the perfect garnish. Just be careful not to brown the sage or it will taste bitter.
Oh and the coolest part about making this soup is that you roast the whole squash. Start by rubbing olive oil over the whole thing and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Stick it in the oven and basically forget about it for 1/12 to 2 hours. Then let it cool, scrape out the seeds and remove the peel. So easy. Actually, much easier than trying to peel and cut it raw. This soup would make a great first course for your Thanksgiving meal. Trust me, everyone will love it.
Kabocha Squash Soup + Crispy Sage
1 large kabocha squash
Sea salt + pepper
2 large shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Tbsp fresh sage, mince half and keep the rest as whole leaves
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup almond milk (optional)
1/2 cup hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 300F. Rub the whole squash with olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender when pierced with a knife and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut squash in half and remove seeds and peel. Chopped into large chunks.
In a stock pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium low heat. Add shallots, garlic and minced sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Place cooked squash in high powered blender and add vegetable stock, almond milk, if using and hazelnuts. Puree until smooth. Add more stock or milk if needed to get desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
Add pureed mixture to cooked onions in stock pot. Let soup simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
In a small skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, add whole sage leaves to crisp. This happens fairly quickly. Do not let leaves brown or they will become bitter.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with crispy sage leaves.