Monday, February 6, 2012

Kuri Squash Soup with Kale Pesto


February can bring many kinds of weather to us northcoasters:  The ubiquitous rain, of course; frosty mornings; sometimes snow, but also the occasional sunny day to remind us that spring is not far off, no matter what the groundhog saw in your neck of the woods.

So on a recent day, when the sun shone and the temperature reached a balmy 55-degrees, it occured to me that I should use up the remainder of the winter squashes whose presence on my kitchen counter throughout the winter months instills a sense of culinary bounty in my heart.

The squashes I used here were a combination of red kuri and one called Cinderella, which is a French variety, but you can use any orange winter squash that is available to you.  Mine were on the small side, so I used three of them.  I encourage you to use locally grown and organic if you can.

Got pesto?  Swirling a dollop into each serving makes for a nicely visual, and healthy presentation.

Kuri Squash Soup with Kale Pesto
Christine's original recipe
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Serves 6-8 generous portions
Ingredients:
5 lbs peeled and seeded deep orange squash, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
4-6 small cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1.5-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 very ripe Bosc pear, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc (juice of 1 lemon may be substituted)
1 1/2 to 2 quarts home made or low sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon porcini powder
1 tablespoon Italian herb blend
olive oil for the sauté (butter is optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preparation:
Assemble and prep your ingredients as listed above.
In a large soup pot, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter, or a combination of both.
When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger and pear.
Stir well and adjust the heat so things will not burn; cover and sweat for about 5 minutes or until the onions are very soft but not caramelized.
Pour in the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any stuck bits, then add the stock, squash, porcini powder and Italian herb mix.
Bring the mixture up to almost boiling, stir, lower the heat so the soup is maintained at a simmer, cover with a lid and allow to cook until the squash is very tender and falls apart when stuck with a fork.
Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes then purée it with an immersion blender until it is very, very smooth.
Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper if you choose.  Stir well.
Serve with a dollop of kale pesto swirled in and enjoy.

The Italian herb mix that I reach for during the winter months is made by Frontier. It's organic and is available at many natural food stores and co-ops and also in my Amazon Store.
I use a locally made dried porcini powder from the Arcata-based company Hasta be Pasta and I just found out it can be purchased from Amazon so I've put it in my Amazon Store.
The bosc pear:  It had been left on the counter too long and was becoming way too soft for eating out of hand. And while the chickens would have thought it a great treat, it made a nice addition to this soup. What the heck: a squash is a fruit; a pear is a fruit. It worked. End of story.

Copyright © 2005-2012, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved

7 comments:

Paz said...

wow! your soup really sounds delicious -- enticing and delicious! i love the idea of the combination of the squash and your special pesto.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

Your soup is a great & tasty winner! and to use up that great home-made kale pesto: what a win-win combination too! :)

Simona said...

I still have a number of squashes, including a kuri, though my rational mind tells me I should not wait too long to use them. I have frozen some roasted pumpkin pulp: we'll see how it does. You certainly made a big pot of soup there. But on the other hand, soup is so good for dinner. I was out with the photography class on Monday evening and there was a warm breeze on the Bay: it was incredible.

Kalyn said...

Gorgeous photo and it sounds like an amazing soup!

katiez said...

Great idea! I still have 4 butternut in the cave... and decided I should make soup with one of them. Perfect timing!

Rosemary said...

The pear was a flash of brilliance! I can imagine it blended well with the squash. Now, kale pesto is something I'll have to try. Unique!

Jann said...

I do have some frozen squash in the freezer~this would be a great recipe to try. Seems though I can never get enough squash soup! I can eat it anytime of the year.Thank you for the great addition to my recipes!