Once fall hits, this soup always finds its way to my table. Over the years I’ve served this at Thanksgiving, Halloween and even for Monday Night Football. It satisfies without fail, and its creamy texture with a little bit of heat adds a wonderful depth of flavor.
You can serve it out of an antique soup tureen to fancy it up or ladle it into ceramic bowls for casual entertaining. No matter the setting or occasion, it always seems just right, making it a mainstay in my recipe collection.
If you are intimated by the thought of cutting into a beast of a big squash, be sure to check out my tips and you’ll have this soup simmering on your stove in no time.
Kabocha Squash Soup
From Suzanne Goin’s wonderful cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques
2 pounds Kabocha squash
2 medium bulbs fennel
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups sliced onions
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 chilies d àrbol
1 bay leaf
¾ cup sherry
10 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
¼ cup crème fraîche
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place your squash, cut side down, on a cutting board, and use a sharp knife to remove the peel. Slice the squash into 1-inch-thick wedges. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and then into ½-inch-thick wedges.
Toss the squash and fennel with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Place the vegetables flat on a baking sheet and roast about 35 minutes, until tender and slightly caramelized.
Meanwhile, toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, until the seeds release their aroma and are lightly browned. Pound them coarsely in a mortar.
Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, and when it foams, add the onions, fennel seeds, thyme, chilies, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are soft, translucent, and starting to color.
Add the squash and fennel, and stir to coat with the onions for a minute. Turn the heat back up to high and pour in the sherry. Let it reduce for a minute or two, and then add the stock and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
Strain the soup in a colander and set in a pot. Put a third of the solids into a blender with ½ cup of the broth (you will need to puree the soup in batches). Serve hot and enjoy!