Roasted Kabocha Soup

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Its fall here in New York. The air is turning crisp and promising of the changes soon to come. I love fall – I love pulling out my sweaters and wrapping myself in scarves, I love watching as the world around me changes and leaves turn colors and the light in the sky shifts; while I miss the longer days I love the way the night slowly creeps and encroaches on the daylight; and I love the bounty of the harvest that is hard to miss at the farmers market – apples, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and pumpkins. I love pumpkins/squash in all variations – muffins, breads, cakes, soups, salads, even on toast!

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When I went to Germany after my mom died for a friend’s wedding I stayed in Berlin with friends. The night before the wedding two friends made a large pot of pumpkin soup laced with spices and velvety soft. We sat around a warm wood table in the Kreuzberg neighborhood with views of rooftops and church steeples and the night sky filled with stars above. As we ate soup and talked that night I started what was possibly the beginning of my road of grief, weeping as my friends talked and told stories of their time in San Francisco and with my mother. The night has stayed with me long since then, it felt at once like an ancient memory of many times before that, moments as people have gathered around soup in their kitchens and grieved. And it was only a year later when I sat with one of these friends around the very same table and talked after the sudden and tragic death of her brother. Soup heals the soul, it comforts and reminds us of the love we have been shown in this life.

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It has been six years since that pumpkin soup but I still remember it fondly and recall the way the spices warmed me and my spirit. This Roasted Kabocha Soup is the closest I have ever found to the impromptu soup that was made that night. I love the simplicity and complexity of it – simple with only a few ingredients that create a rich and exotic flavor. Warmed by fresh ginger and curry powder and earthy from the Kabocha Squash this soup feels like a comforting hug and in today’s world we could all use a comforting hug.

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Roasted Kabocha Soup – adapted from Goop

Ingredients:

1 medium kabocha squash, cut in half and seeds removed – if you can’t find a kabocha squash butternut could be used in its place

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 large onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon garam masala or curry powder

3 cups vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 400°F. Season kabocha halves generously with salt and pepper, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and place flesh side down on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until browned and tender, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced onion and a pinch of salt, stir, then turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and sweet.

Add the garlic, ginger (I like to use a microplane directly into the pot) and ground spices, turn the heat back up to medium high, and sauté for 1 minute. When the spices are fragrant but not burned, add stock, and another big pinch of salt. Simmer gently until the squash is ready.

 When the squash is cooked, let it cool slightly, then scrape out the flesh and add it to broth. You should have about 2 cups cooked squash. Bring the soup up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and slowly cook for 10 minutes.

Blend soup, taste for seasoning and enjoy!

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11 2015

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