Spicy Kabocha Squash Soup with Sage
By sugarspiceandbacon on December 06, 2012
The rains have come to California! Last weekend we were hit hard with a crazy storm that had me up half the night listening to rain pound down on my roof while I crossed my fingers and toes that nothing would start to leak!
Lucky for me, I love the rain. Well...I love the rain when I have nothing to do except stay inside in my coziest clothes while watching various Harry Potter movies (don't judge me!) or episodes of Friends while cooking or baking something delicious.
On this rainy weekend, that something delicious was Spicy Kabocha Squash Soup.
Kabocha squash, you ask? Never heard of it? Don't worry. I hadn't either till last year when I noticed it pop up in my farmer's market. So I bought one not knowing what in the world I was going to do with it. So I turned to the trusty world wide web and found out that they are particularly good for soup making. I tried it. And boy, they weren't kidding! This squash makes a smooth, silky soup that you'll want to make again and again.
And I have! But each time I tweak my base recipe a little. This time it was with the addition of some HOT peppers.
Cayenne peppers to be exact. I've never really seen them in whole form, only in the super spicy powder I have to make sure to wash my hands after using, but I picked these up and wanted to give them a try.
Turns out, they are SPICY! But more on that later :)
I roasted the squash until it was really tender and then tossed it in with some leeks I had been sautéing. After a few minutes of cooking, I added chicken stock and the cayenne peppers I had roasted with the squash.
When you are ready to blend the soup, it's decision time. You can leave both peppers in and blend them into the soup, take them both out, or leave one in. I chose to leave one in (thinking I could always add the second one later), and the soup turned out spicy! Now, I like spice and it was even a bit spicy to me, so tread carefully! If you aren't a spice fan, cooking the peppers in the soup will still add lots of good flavor without all the spice.
Look at me, spending all this time talking about the peppers and I've totally left out the other super special ingredient in this soup - the sage! Do you like sage? I think sage is a pretty underused herb. Sure, you always use it when stuffing your Thanksgiving turkey, and we know it goes well with sausage, but I love sage with squash. Think about it, when's the last time you had a butternut squash ravioli without sage in the sauce? ;) It just works.
As does everything else going on in this soup. Give it a try and you'll see ;)
Recipe: Spicy Kabocha Squash Soup with Sage
- 2 medium Kabocha Squash
- 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 fresh cayenne peppers (or other fresh hot pepper)
- 8-10 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish)
- 2 tablespoons chopped sage
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Roughly chop squash. Place on a baking sheet with the 2 cayenne peppers. Roast, shaking the pan a few times, about 60 minutes, until squash is tender.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add leeks and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Add squash and chicken broth to cover. Add roasted peppers. Add chopped sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until squash is very tender.
- Now is the time to remove one or both of the peppers if you choose!
- Puree soup in batches using a blender, or in the pot using an immersion blender. Garnish with fresh sage.
- Serving suggestion: this soup is wonderful with a big dollop of greek yogurt on top!