My love affair with the Kabocha Squash hasn’t ended. Our love is as strong as ever and I’m sure it will last a loooong time. Every week when Neil is out of sight at the supermarket I dawdle through the fresh produce section, I hear a “Psssst”. When I turn my head, there he is, sitting in all his glory with his dark and light green striped skin with a rough yellow patch or two; as sexy as ever. Without hesitation I will pick him up, caress him and tell him I missed him. When our tender moment has passed I make a dash for our trolley wherever it may be and hide him quickly before Neil sees him. Satisfied and excited I would quietly plan in my head what sordid yet creative business I’d like to do to him when Neil has left for work. Oh, if Neil only knew!
Excuse me, I think I’ve just written my daily dose of bollocks. At least I enjoyed it.
Baked Kabocha Squash & Butter Bean Soup
Preparation: 10 mins – Cooking: 50 mins
POINTS per serving: 2
- 200g (7 oz) dried butter beans
- 1-1.5kg (2-3lbs) kabocha squash
- 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 15ml (1 tbsp) butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 750ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
- 1.25ml (¼ tsp) ground cinnamon [optional]
- 1.25ml (¼ tsp) ground nutmeg [optional]
- You need to soak the beans for at least 12 hours (alternatively overnight) in plenty of cold water.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Halve pumpkin crosswise and scoop out seeds and strings. Place pumpkin halves in a large baking dish, shallow side down. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Meanwhile melt the butter and add the oil to a large pot. When the mixture starts sizzling, add the onion and fry gently until softened. Rinse the soaked butter beans, add them to the pot and pour in the stock. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes or until just soft, not mushy.
- By then the pumpkin would be cooked. Remove the baking dish from the oven and wait for the pumpkin to cool down. When it is cool enough to touch, scoop out all the flesh and add it to the simmering bean pot.
- Add the spices now and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then purée the mixture with a hand blender. Alternatively, you can wait for the mixture to cool down a little bit and purée it in batches in a blender.
- Serve immediately with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled on top.
- For a complete meal you can serve brown bread with lashes of butter on the side.
A dash of cream goes nicely with the soup.
- Different ovens cook different things at different rates. My old oven used to take about 90 minutes to bake a halved pumpkin. My new one takes 30 minutes. If you would rather want to play it safe, bake the pumpkin first, then only start cooking the beans.
- Feel free to use a different variety of pumpkin; whatever you find available. Local is best!