Recipe submitted by Jessica of Feed Me Dearly.
“Gone are the days when squash meant a choice of acorn or butternut. Yes, I still eat them, but there’s a special kind of thrill involved when you hack into your first Red Kuri, or break down a Kabocha, with its tough green skin and sweet, almost spiced orange flesh.
I’d recently bought some Japanese 7-spice because I’d seen someone using it in a curry, and it piqued my curiosity. I found my Japanese 7-spice at Spices and Tease in Chelsea Market, but Amazon and other online vendors will carry it as well.
While I’m familiar with Chinese 5-spice powder and use it frequently in my cooking, I’d never tried Japanese 7-spice – a spicy, earthy blend of orange peel, black, white and toasted sesame seeds, cayenne, ginger, Szechuan pepper and nori.
The spice mixture sounded like a perfect match for Kabocha. Sweet and spicy is one of my favorite flavor combinations, and with the orange and ginger, a virtual soup was quickly forming in the food-centric depths of my brain.
The Kabocha starts with a slow roast in the oven with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. Best to keep the flavors muted at this point to let the 7-spice really shine.”
|4 people||15 minutes|
"If there’s a dish that defines my cooking these days, it’s this soup. It’s simple to make, yet feels new and exotic. It’s healthy and can be eaten with a range of diets from dairy- & gluten-free to vegan/vegetarian, and even Paleo. It’s easy enough for a weeknight meal, but pretty enough to put on your Thanksgiving table."
- 1 medium Kabocha squash
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
- 1 medium onion
- 1 teaspoon Japanese 7-spice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk refrigerate for 4 hours
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Break down your Kabocha squash by splitting it in half and scooping out the seeds. You can reserve the seeds for another use (spiced, roasted seeds can be made just as you would make roasted pumpkin seeds). Cut the squash halves lengthwise into segments (they’ll resemble half moons).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the squash segments, tossing with the olive oil and seasoning with the salt and pepper to taste. Roast the squash for an hour, flipping halfway through. Let the squash cool, and then scoop out the flesh and reserve.
- Heat a Dutch oven on medium-high heat and add the olive oil, and the onions with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat the onions until translucent, stirring every so often to prevent browning.
- When the onions are nearly done, add the ginger and Japanese 7-spice, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the Kabocha and stock, and bring to a boil, then turn your heat down to low. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, scoop the cream off the top of the coconut milk and reserve. Once the soup has been simmering for 10 minutes, add the rest of the coconut milk, and simmer for a few minutes more.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender and taste again for seasoning. If you’d like to add more heat, add another pinch of the Japanese 7-spice. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into a serving bowl, and then top with a dollop of the coconut milk and another sprinkle of the Japanese 7-spice. Shower the soup with a pinch of Maldon salt which adds great texture and another salty contrast to balance the sweetness of the soup.