Kabocha squash? What is that?! Well, my friends it is a variety of winter squash that is also known as Japanese pumpkin. It’s shaped like a small green pumpkin and has a slightly sweet flavor and texture similar to pumpkin and butternut squash. It’s wonderful simply roasted with olive oil, sea salt and a pinch of red chili pepper flakes. It also makes a delicious sweet and savory soup when paired with an apple.
To prepare the squash, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and strings (just like you would a regular pumpkin). Then using a vegetable peeler, peel away the outer skins. Cut the squash into 1 inch pieces.
This aromatic sweet and savory soup will warm your home with the sweet and spicy scents of apple, onion, garlic and pumpkin pie spice. I like to add a hint of heat with a garnish of sliced jalapeno peppers. There are so many interesting varieties of squash. They signal the arrival of fall and a return of cooking with warm, spicy and aromatic flavors in the kitchen.
You’ll notice in the cooking instructions, I start out cooking the squash and onions in the skillet. Why do I do this you may ask? The browning in this initial step imparts a great deal of flavor to the dish. It only takes minutes, so don’t skip it. For the majority of the cooking time, I like to use the slow-cooker. This allows me time to get things done while all the flavors meld and slowly cook. You’ll need a food processor or blender to smooth out the soup to the right texture once its cooked. You may also notice the recipe calls for a small amount of garlic and spice. This is because flavors intensify in the slow-cooker. A little goes a long way and it smells wonderful ~ just like fall.
I hope you enjoy it. Bon Appetite!
Recommended items for this recipe:
- 1 medium-sized kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 lbs)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil (divided 1 tbsp / 3 tbsps)
- 1/2 medium onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup white wine preferably a light Chardonnay
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 large honey crisp apple cored, peeled and cut into small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced jalapeno for garnish
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley roughly chopped for garnish
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings (just like a pumpkin). Peel the skin from the halves using a vegetable peeler. Cut the squash into 1 inch pieces.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Transfer the onion mixture to the slow-cooker.
Add 3 tbsp of sunflower oil to the skillet. Add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Saute the squash until it browns (about 8-10 minutes). Add the pumpkin pie spice to coat the squash and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer the squash to the slow-cooker.
Finally, add the apple juice, white wine and chicken stock to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Scrape any browned bits on the pan. Simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer the liquid to the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2.5 - 3 hours. Add the apple and cook for 1 more hour.
The apple and squash should be tender. Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Blend until it is smooth. Return the puree to the slow-cooker. Stir in the cream. If the soup is too thick, add additional chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time to thin. Serve with garnish of spicy jalapeno pepper and Italian parsley.