Chunky Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

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Hello and happy snow day!  We got a little snow yesterday and it was beautiful. It started mid-afternoon and snowed hard for a few hours.  It put a nice coating of white on everything.  It has been really cold here so the ground was cold enough for it to stick and to cause lots of ice on the roads.  We are expecting a storm with the rest of the mid-Atlantic and east coast tonight and tomorrow.  They are calling for everything here...rain, snow, sleet, ice.  It all adds up to a big mess.  I am glad I can just stay home.  I have cooking to do, movies to watch, books to read, and needlepoint to do. It is nice and sunny right now and will be in the low 40's so I am planning to get out for a walk in a little bit.  

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Cold weather is the perfect time to make soup. It will warm you from the inside out!  This is a recipe I adapted from the goop new year detox.  It is roasted chunks of squash combined with ginger, spices and garlic into a stew of sorts. Goop pureed theirs to make a smooth soup but I liked the big pieces of squash.   I think either way it is delicious.   

You may not be familiar with kabocha squash.  It was new to me when we started cooking with it at school last year.  It is a heavy, thick-skinned squash that can be hard to cut but is totally worth the effort.  The skin will be tender when cooked so there is no need to peel it.   I looked for a video online to show you how to cut it and none are good.  Just use a big knife and do the best you can to cut it in half.  Put the cut side down and then use the knife to cut it into smaller pieces.  You'll get the hang of it.  Like other winter squash, kabocha is loaded with nutrients.  You can read about it here. I have said before, if you aim for variety, you don't need to worry about what makes something nutritious.  You can use any winter squash for this but I think kabocha is the best.  It has texture like a sweet potato and is sweeter than butternut or acorn.  It is delicious.  If you live in Texas you can often find it at Central Market.  Here in NC I have only found it at Trader Joes,  This soup is rich, sweet, and filling.  It is enough for a meal itself, maybe with a green salad for some crunch.  

In other BIG news, I have employment!  In fact, a full time job and a part time job.  I am thrilled.  I will work full time as a home hospice nurse.  I will start mid February.  I am sure to have lots to learn but I am excited to have a position as a nurse, doing something meaningful.  I will cover Forsyth and two other counties. I am not really sure what to expect but it feels right.  I also got a part time job at Whole Foods.  I am a Whole Foods fan, and in fact when I was trying to figure out where to live, Whole Foods was a requirement on my list.  The Whole Foods here in Winston Salem has been here 16 years and they rarely have job openings.  I am going to work part time on the weekends as a cashier.  What?  I am absolutely thrilled. I think it will be a great way to meet some people, learn more about the community and start out doing something with food.  They fill most of their positions internally so perhaps one day I can do something with either  health education or cooking.  Whatever the case, I am excited to work there.   Oh, and I will still teach my Kaplan nursing board review class. Look what happens when your word is open!

Roasted Winter Squash Stew

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Keywords: roast appetizer entree soup/stew gluten-free vegan vegetarian kabocha squash Indian

Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • 1 medium kabocha squash (may substitute butternut squash)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Instructions

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the squash, cut in half and scrape out the seeds. Carefully cut the squash into big chunks about 1 1/2 inches. Place them on a large baking sheet in a big pile. Drizzle with the olive oil. Mix with your hands to coat all the pieces. Spread into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender and browning around the edges.

While the squash is roasting, heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring oaccasionally. Cook until the onions are soft and sweet.

When the onions are cooked, add the ginger, garlic, and spices to the pan. Stir over medium heat until everything is fragrant and well mixed. Add the vegetable broth and a big pinch of salt. Mix well and let simmer until the squash is ready.

When the squash is cooked, mix it into the broth mixture. Let slowly simmer for about 10 minutes, partially covered. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

Option: if you want a smooth soup, blend in a blender in batches, or with a hand blender. Add more broth to make the desired consistency.

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