Since I’m doing pumpkin stuff anyway, why not pumpkin soup? Someone asked me if I had a recipe for pumpkin soup or if I felt like experimenting. Why not? She informed me Uno’s has a pumpkin soup out usually this time of year that’s really good. So I googled it. Turns out they make their’s with Kabocha pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Great! I’m already buying tons of squash everywhere and substituting sweet potatoes where normally white potatoes are used. I’m sure there are sweet pumpkin soups out there, but I don’t naturally have a sweet tooth, so couldn’t really imagine liking a sweet pumpkin soup? So I added some spices and a little heat to this one and figured I would garnish it with some sweet. Surprisingly, it turned out really good. I just pieced this together trying a lot of different things, it took some work, but it’s the only way I know how to make a soup like this.
First things first. A ‘kabocha pumpkin’ and where to find one? (taken from Wikipedia)
Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash. The word kabocha has come to mean a general type of winter squash to many English-speaking growers and buyers. In some cultures it is revered as an aphrodisiac. (What?! ! whooo hooo…) 🙂 Kabocha is commonly called a japanese pumpkin, especially in Austraila and New Zealand. In Thailand is it called Fak Thong. (good to know) In Japan, the word kabocha may refer to either this squash or to the Western-style pumpkin.
Today, many of the kabocha in the market are of the type called Kuri kabocha, which was created based on Seiyo kabocha (buttercup squash). It is popular for its strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts. It is found in the market under such brand names as Miyako, Ebisu, Kurokawa, and Akazukin.
Okay, so, I went to my local Japanese grocer which I usually frequent for sushi and also great prices on vegetables. I was a little irritated because they had some already halved and wrapped in saran wrap (which could affect the freshness). I guess they figured no one would want them because they are fairly large, and it is always nice to see the inside, sometimes things can be bad or rotten. When I asked her if they had any whole ones in the back, I don’t think she understood me. 🙂 she just kept saying, “don’t worry, we get fresh everyday”. Cool. And it was marked as a “bu yaut”?? which also confused me, but I guessed it was a certain variety from wherever they came from. When I asked her about that, she laughed and said it was Vietnamese. Interesting.
Anyways, on to the pumpkin soup. I don’t know why, but I purchased 4 medium sweet potatoes and used them all in this soup. And I used a whole kabocha pumpkin. I cut up the sweet potatoes in roasting slices and also roasted a whole bunch of garlic. Since the pumpkin was a little large and not too thick, I roasted them in a pan face up with some water, the usual way I would roast a butternut or acorn squash. I roasted them for about 40 minutes and they were done. I did turn the oven all the way to 415 degrees just to get it super hot at first. Then after 15 minutes turned it down to 400 degrees for the remainder. You’ll see my sweet potatoes got pretty dark and carmelized, almost burned them. After both are done roasting, you have to put the sweet potatoes in the food processor with some water and process all of it. I also scraped the pumpkin out and processed some of it with more water. I just added all of this to the boiling soup as it was processed. The soup will be chunky. You need to then blend all of this in a blender to make a smooth, creamy soup which is what I wanted. I did this the next day since I was cooking near midnight and was ready for bed. (A trick, how to cool down an entire pot of soup to stick the fridge fast. I just use ice. I fill the sink with a good amount of ice and water half way up the scorching hot pot of soup and let it sit for 10-min in the cool water. Then just pop it in the fridge.)
Kat’s Pumpkin Soup
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1 whole ‘bunch of garlic’ roasted (because I like garlic)
- 1 whole onion, chopped
- 1 t thyme
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 t coriander
- 1 t curry
- 1 bay leaf
- one heaping 1/2 cup of flour
- 2 cups milk
- 6-7 cups water, split up! ( you will add water when you process veggies)
- 1 whole kabocha pumpkin, roasted
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, roasted
- 1 1/2 t kosher salt & a good sprinkling of pepper
- Garnish with dried cranberries, raisins and nuts when serving. For more heat, garnish with chili or cayenne pepper or a sweet chili sauce.
First, roast the sweet potatoes and pumpkin for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven (415 degrees for first 15 minutes, optional). Sweet potatoes sliced up on a pan with the garlic bunch wrapped in foil. The kabocha pumpkin roasted, halved in a pan with an inch of water.
After those are done make your roux. Cook onions in butter until translucent and add all herbs to onion mixture. Then, add the flour and mix until there is no loose flour in pan. Next to the pan pour in milk and 3 cups of water and slowly bring to a rapid boil while you process sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Once it comes to a rapid boil, turn down and simmer.
Process sweet potatoes in a food processor. It took me 3 rounds because my food processor is small. To each round of sweet potatoes add 1 cup water to the mix so it will process. When done with each round add to the soup that is probably simmering. So, this adds an additional 3 cups water to the soup. After that, scrape and spoon out kabocha pumpkin. Since it was already soft I just mashed them real quick on a plate with a fork and then added each half to the soup with a cup of water each. Season to taste!! After the soup gently boils/simmer and all ingredients are incorporated, turn off heat and move off the burner to cool. I cooled mine win the sink with ice and then blended the entire soup mixture the next day. This will turn your chunky soup mixture into a smooth and creamy one! Enjoy!!