A little while back, we received a nice-looking Kabocha squash in our CSA box. If you’ve never had one of these hardy winter squashes before, you’re missing out! They look like a green, kind of ugly pumpkin on the outside. But when you cut it open, you get a smooth orange flesh that’s delicious when roasted, steamed, or cut into cubes and boiled. You can find them at most farmer’s markets or natural grocery stores during the late fall and winter seasons. My preferred preparation method is to cut the squash in half, place it open side down on a cookie sheet and bake it at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Once the kabocha is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. You should get something like this:
I usually like to make soups with kabochas, because they have such a smooth flesh. Once roasted, the squash blends down to a bisque-like consistency, without the extra calories from heavy cream. With this particular soup, I decided to try something different- hence the beer component. My official taste tester called it, “the best kabocha squash soup I’ve ever had,” so I guess you could call that a “hit.”
1 medium-sized kabocha squash
4 cups chicken broth (can substitute with veggie broth)
1/2 cup beer
1 tsp. ground cumin
leaves from 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and white pepper to taste
a few dollops of fromage blanc (can substitute with greek yogurt or sour cream)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, or a silicone mat. Cut the kabocha squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place (open-side down) on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the squash can easily be pierced by the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Scoop out flesh from squash into a soup pot. Cover the squash with the chicken broth and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Blend the squash mixture with a hand blender until it is very smooth. If you don’t have a hand blender, use a food processor or regular blender, working in batches.
- Return the kabocha squash to the pot and add thyme leaves. Mix in beer and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook soup on medium heat for 5 more minutes.
- Serve soup with a dollop of fromage blanc and a slice of crusty rustic bread.