Uchiki Kuri Squash Soup with Lentils
Holy cow! I like winter squash, in fact I like winter squash a whole lot, but I have never before been the least bit tempted to try it raw. Just before I left I got this smashing uchiki kuri squash from my CSA. As soon as I cut it open the fresh, sweet, fruity, and completely irresistible smell filled the kitchen and I just had to slice off a bit and have a bite. The dense flesh is juicy and sweet. I cooked them anyway, but these kuris present a whole new level of squash possibility, clear, pure, and beautiful. This Beverly Sills of squash will make you smile from ear to ear and fill your heart with sunshine.
Sometimes these are orange all over, but look at those snazzy green speckles! The skin is tender, so you don’t need to peel them.
Late October Lentil Soup with Uchiki Kuri Squash
1 dense-fleshed squash such as uchiki kuri or kabocha, about 1 ½ pounds after trimming
3 cups lentils
3 medium or largish onions, diced
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
several stalks of celery, peeled, destringified, and sliced (just one stalk is fine. So is a whole bunch)
salt and pepper
leaves from one bunch of parsley, chopped
parmesan rinds, if you happen to have some
lemon wedges, ditto
Cut the squash open and remove the seeds and fibers. Cut the flesh into cubes or oblate parallelepipeds that will fit comfortably in a spoon, and set aside. Wash and pick over the lentils. If you like, you can let them soak a bit while preparing the vegetables. Heat oil in a soup kettle and add the diced onions and cumin seeds. Stir and cook until the onions are relaxed and add the celery. Add the drained lentils and about three quarts of water. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Add the squash, parsley, and parmesan rinds if you are using them. Cook for another half hour or until the squash is quite tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You may serve this soup with parmesan, or lemon wedges, or both, and it is just right on its own.
See Nami Nami, where Pille will be rounding up this Weekend's Herb Blogging creations.