Roasting kabocha and yellow onions together until caramelized brings out the sweetness as well as the earthiness of these vegetables, before turning them into a rich vegetarian-based Roasted Kabocha Soup.
I have been seeing a lot of kabocha recipes in my Australian Gourmet magazines. I finally found both green and red varietals at the Berkeley farmers market. What is Kabocha? It is also known as a Japanese pumpkin throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. It is the short stubby cousin to our native pumpkin. The kabocha is round but also rather bumpy with knobby skin, the color is either a dull green or red but the insides are an intense red-orange color. It is naturally sweet, even sweet than a butternut squash with a similar texture of a pumpkin. I thought the flesh tasted rather earthy like a russet potato. It is rich in beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C, and potassium.
I found the history of the kabocha interesting as well. It is believed that all squash originated in Mesoamerica, but may have been independently cultivated elsewhere. However, the kabocha was introduced to Japan by Portuguese sailors in 1541, who brought it with them from Cambodia. The Portuguese name for the pumpkin, Cambodia abóbora, was shortened by the Japanese to kabocha.
This was my first time using a kabocha and I decided that I wanted to make it into a soup. I slowly roasted it with some yellow onions and olive oil until it was caramelized. Then I simmered the flesh as well as the onions with plain water – I find that vegetable stock changes the flavor of soups and takes away from their natural taste. I then pureed the mixture and served it with a piece of fried sage and a drizzle of the sage oil. It was rich in flavor but light in calories. This soup would make a perfect soup course for your Thanksgiving table.
Roasted Kabocha Soup
1 3 pound kabocha, cut into quarters
1 yellow onion, cut into quarters
a drizzle of olive oil
3 cups of water
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 425.
Put kabocha and onion in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 30 -45 minutes until soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and gently remove the flesh of the kabocha from the skin.
Place the flesh into a large saucepan with the onion and water. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
Puree with a food processor or blender small batches, return to a saucepan. Gently reheat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry sage leaves.
Before serving drizzle a bit of the sage-infused olive oil over the top of the soup and float the fried sage leaf in it.