Kabocha Squash Soup with Spiced Pepitas           

  • By Christine Newheart
  • 04 Nov, 2015

Fall is here and nothing hits the spot on a cold night like a bowl of soup ! As a fan of all things pumpkin but craving something a bit different, I went on a hunt for a creamy squash soup recipe to add to my arsenal. As soon as I stumbled upon this Kabocha Squash Soup , I knew I found a winner.

Get the original recipe here .

Kabocha is an Asian variety of winter squash that has a sweet flavor that tastes like a mash-up of pumpkin and sweet potato. It has an exceptional naturally sweet flavor—even sweeter than its butternut cousin .

What really makes this soup stand out is the garnishes. Fresh out of the oven , the crispy spiced pepitas (squash seeds) were so delicious that I had a hard time saving them for after the finished bowls!

I’m not sure about you, but to me, a bowl of hot soup is always begging to be dunked in. Rather than toasting the bread topping in the oven , I like to use a cast iron pan over medium heat. Simply drizzle bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast bread in the skillet for a minute per side then rub with garlic (the nooks and crannies on each slice will capture some of the clove’s flavor).

If it’s your first time working with a whole kabocha squash, it can look intimidating to cut. It’s much easier than it looks, though. Peel the squash, then cut it in half. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy portions. After that you can easily cut it into cubes.

The sherry in the stock brings real depth to the soup, while the blending step offers a rich texture without any added cream.

This is the perfect mood-boosting, soul-warming meal for a chilly, cloudy day.

Kabocha Squash Soup with Spiced Pepitas and Grilled Bread

Serves:4

Spiced Pepitas:

1/2 cup pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

Kabocha Squash Soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 pounds kabocha squash (or butternut), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Grilled Bread:

1 baguette, sliced 1/2-inch thick on the bias
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 clove garlic, peeled
Salt

For the Spiced Pepitas:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss together pepitas, olive oil, agave nectar, paprika, curry powder, and salt in small bowl.
  3. Spread on prepared baking sheet, and bake 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool.
  4. Break pepitas apart, and toss with cilantro or parsley.

For the Kabocha Squash Soup:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallot, saute 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in garlic, smoked paprika, and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute more. Add sherry and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add squash, vegetable broth, and 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  3. Remove bay leaf and puree soup with an immersion blender or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

For the Grilled Bread:

  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Toast bread in skillet for 1 minute per side, or until golden brown.
  3. Rub toasted bread with peeled garlic clove.
  4. Serve soup warm sprinkled with spiced pepitas, herbs, and bread.
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