A few months ago I raved about Kabocha Squash and I’ll do it again. To my heart’s delight I saw this week while shopping that Waitrose has decided to stock up on Kabocha and Butternut Squashes that are both my favourites. Just maybe the Brits are catching up on the magnificence of the pumpkin. The first time I tasted the Kabocha Squash it reminded me of something else. After a while it hit me that it tasted like a good old Gem Squash. My relationship with the latter is a bit volatile though. It is pretty hard to tell from the outside whether you’ll have a good or bad one. When I’m unlucky, I’ll be stuck with pale yellow, full of threads, watery and bland flesh that isn’t up to much, taste wise. But boy, when you’re lucky you’ll have deep-yellow, moist, tender and smooth flesh that’s to die for. Now that’s what the Kabocha Squash is like each and every time. No wonder I can’t get enough of it.
Kabocha Squash & Cumin Soup
Preparation: 15 mins – Cooking: 1 hr 15 mins
- 1.25kg (2¾ lbs) kabocha squash
- 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 10ml (2 tsp) ground (jeera) cumin
- 1 large carrot, chopped, weighing about 125g (4½ oz)
- 1L (4 cups) vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- crème fraîche (optional)
- ground nutmeg, to serve (optional)
- parsley, for garnishing (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Halve the squash crosswise and scoop out seeds and strings. Place squash halves in a large baking dish, shallow side down. Bake, uncovered, for 1-1½ hours, or until fork tender.
- Wait for the squash to cool down a little, then peel it and chop into chunks.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large pan. Cook the onion and cumin for 2 minutes, then add the carrot and cook for 3 minutes more,
- stirring frequently. Add the baked squash chunks and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Set aside to cool slightly, then purée using a hand blender (preferably), blender or food processor until smooth.
- Return the soup to the pan and gently reheat without boiling. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Top with crème fraîche and sprinkle with parsley and ground nutmeg before serving.
- Buttered slices of wholemeal bread on the side will make a most satisfying meal.
- Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock if you prefer.
- Butternut squash can be used instead of Kabocha Squash.
- If the soup is too thick, thin it down with a little stock.