Thursday, November 1, 2012

Red Kuri Squash-Leek Soup

We should have carved our traditional pumpkins last night because it was Halloween, but instead, I ended up carving up a Red Kuri squash.  Actually, I didn't carve it up, because I couldn't get my damn knife through the thing!  So I had to wait for Justin to get home from work to cut it for me.  There was intoxication involved and I figured I should give up while I was ahead and still had all my fingers.  Those suckers are thick (the squash, not my fingers... or maybe my fingers too)!

Thoughts on Red Kuri squash: my favourite squash we've tried so far!  I had to taste it after roasting it for the soup, and with just some olive oil, salt and pepper, it had this rich, delicious, buttery flavour.  Not as sweet as some squash is, and I knew it was going to be perfect in soup. 

Exploring different types of squash this fall has been a lot of fun, and this Red Kuri's been sitting on our table, waiting to be used.  Squash-leek soup sounded great, but I didn't really want the thickness of traditional squash soup, I wanted a thinner, brothy soup.  I just happened to have the other veggies in the fridge and they needed to get used up, but they were a really great addition, I liked having something to chew instead of a smooth soup and I would definitely recommend them (though you could easily leave them out if you chose).  If you're looking for a thicker soup, you could very easily just cut the chicken broth back by half (or more, depending on the consistency you're looking for).  The soup was quick and basic, but perfect for the cold, wet night we had.  I wanted it to have just a little heat in it, so I used some white pepper and cayenne pepper, but if you're not into heat, you can leave them out.

I've been on an Against Me! kick for the last two weeks, and I had several of their albums thrown on my playlist on repeat while making this... so it was a no brainer for music!  This is one of mine and Justin's all-time favourites, "What We Worked For".  -jen

Prep Time:  1 hr, 15 minutes
Cook Time:  5-10 minutes
Difficulty:  Medium
  • 1 Red Kuri squash
  • olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • 8-oz crimini mushrooms, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup very small broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 large leeks, greens removed and whites diced
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Quarter the squash and remove seeds and membrane.  Rub enough olive oil over the exposed flesh to coat, and then generously salt and pepper them.  Bake at 425 degrees for one hour.  Set aside.  Remove skin when squash has cooled enough to handle.

In a stock pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms, bell pepper, broccoli and minced garlic.  Saute until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in same stock pot, over medium-high heat.  Add leeks and saute until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Puree leeks, squash and broth together.  (If you have an immersion blender, you can add squash and broth to pot and blend.  If not, remove leeks from pan and place in a blender with the squash and enough broth to puree, then pour back into stock pot with any remaining broth.)  Add the sauteed mushrooms, pepper and broccoli.  Stir in sage, white pepper and cayenne pepper.  Heat to serve.

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