Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lost and Found Kabocha Soup of Many Colors


I am very excited about the buttercup family of squashes, and especially the kabocha. Finely-grained, densely-textured, utterly without stringiness, it is the Greta Garbo of squash. Their dark green outer shells make you think that they are grim and austere, but the skin is soft and edible, and contrasts beautifully with the feverishly orange pulp.

I just made this soup again for the first time in several years. Every written or emailed version had vanished without a trace, but I was finally able to reconstruct the recipe. This may well be my most beloved soup of all, and I do like soup. This recipe makes lots of soup, but you can halve it by using half a squash, or a smaller squash.

Lost and Found Kabocha Soup of Many Colors

1 kabocha, buttercup, or Hokkaido squash, about 2 pounds
3 medium onions
3-6 red peppers (about 2 pounds)
5 celery ribs
olive oil (be lavish)
5-7 very small garlic cloves, if you have some
1 whole fresh red chile
5-7 medium to large cloves of garlic (more if you didn’t have the tiny ones)
1 small bunch arugola
1 small bunch parsley
1 small bunch dill

Cut the squash into dice of a size the will nicely show off the contrast between the dark green skin and bright orange flesh, but small enough to fit in a soup spoon. Slice the onions into very thin half moons along the longitudinal lines. Peel the peppers and slice into thin julienne. Peel and de-stringify the celery and cut into medium dice.

Cover the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil and warm over low heat. Add the sliced onions and stir and cook 15 minutes or until onions are soft and transparent. Add the celery, red peppers, the chile, and tiny whole cloves of garlic and continue cooking ten minutes more. Slice the remaining garlic into thin slices and add to the pot and continue cooking until fragrant. Add the squash and about three or four quarts of water, so that there is an equal volume of water and vegetables. Raise the heat and bring the soup to the boil. Lower the heat to the simmer and cook until squash is tender, periodically skimming the surface. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. At the end add coarsely chopped arugola, minced parsley, and snipped dill.

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4 Comments:

Blogger zp said...

Great photos. And great Greta Garbo link. I love that "Brazilian industrialist" and the fact that Garbo is eating!! How many photos exist of Garbo eating? Did you find that one on purpose? And thanks for linking to my page . . .

3:59 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Heh heh. I did indeed. I have not so far been able to find other pictures of Garbo eating. An image of Garbo enjoying a meal would be the real cold fusion holy grail.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Nooyawka said...

The Japanese Love of My Life warns me away from Hokkaido squash, which she says is not tasty, and toward Kyushu squash. Hokkaido's climate is much colder than Kyushu's climate.

She also suspects the word 'kabocha' (which she pronounces 'kapocha') is a corruption of the name Cambodia (Kamboja, more or less, in Japanese), which is pretty darn hot.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Cohiba Esplendidos said...

Their dark green outer shells make you think that they are grim and austere, but the skin is soft and edible, and contrasts beautifully with the feverishly orange pulp.

4:14 PM  

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