If you have a Red Kuri squash and are wondering just what to do with it: make soup. Roasting the squash and simmering it in a savory broth spiked with onions and extra virgin olive oil is always a win because it’s so painlessly simple. This basic recipe, which only contains five ingredients, is a great place to start and it has endless variations so you can adjust the recipe based on what you have in your pantry.
What is it?
Red Kuri squash is an heirloom variety of winter squash that was developed in Japan during the 1920s. It has a dense, richly orange flesh with a decadent sweet flavor reminiscent of chestnuts. And, like most winter squashes, it makes a gorgeous soup.
This version of the recipe is beautifully simple and only contains five ingredients: Red Kuri squash, onions, olive oil, salt, and broth. That simplicity allows you to modify the recipe based on the herbs and spices you have on hand in your pantry.
Tips for Good Soup
This soup recipe is very easy to make – simple and nourishing with minimal ingredients. Like most soups and stews, there’s a fair amount of room for both invention and error. Because it has that little bit of extra give, you can modify it easily to suit what you have in your pantry and make small adjustments and additions as you see fit.
- Roasting the squash makes it easier to break down. While you can peel, seed, and cube the squash before tossing it into a pot full of simmering broth for soup, roasting it in advance makes the process less cumbersome and so much easier.
- Sweat the onions until fragrant and translucent, but pull them before they begin to caramelize or brown. Since Red Kuri squash is so sweet, you don’t need the added sweetness from caramelized onions.
- Keep the additional liquid to about three cups. That could be three cups of bone broth, three cups of vegetable stock, or a blend of broth, stock, cream, or coconut milk.
- Purée the soup until perfectly smooth for good consistency. An immersion blender works well, but you can also purée the soup in an upright blender as long as you work in batches, making sure to fill the blender only one-third full each time.
- Garnish the soup with microgreens, toasted nuts, hemp seeds, sourdough croutons, fresh herbs, sliced green onions, and a little drizzle of heavy cream or coconut milk. These heavier garnishes give more flavor to the soup and make it more satisfying, too.
Red Kuri Squash Soup Recipe
Roasting the squash.
- Heat the oven to 400 F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Split the squash in half, and then scoop out its seeds. Place the squash cut-side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until tender – about 20 minutes.
- Set the baking sheet on the counter, and allow it to rest until the squash is cool enough to handle comfortably.
Assembling the soup.
- Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and then toss in the onion. Sprinkle the onion with salt, and then let it cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply fragrant – about 5 minutes.
- Gently scoop the squash's flesh from its skin, and then drop it into the Dutch oven, discarding the skin. Increase the heat to medium-high, and then pour in the broth. Bring it all to a boil, and then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer about 20 minutes or until the ingredients are cooked through and the flavors meld.
- Turn off the heat, and purée the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot, or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Season it with red curry, shallots, cilantro, and lime juice. Red curry’s heat complements Red Kuri squash, and you can add a dollop of the curry paste to the soup when you add broth. Instead of sautéeing the onion in olive oil, sauté shallots in coconut oil before tossing in the roasted squash. Finish it off with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Add apples and celery root. Apples come into season at the same time as winter squash. Peel, core, and chop a tart apple, such as a Granny Smith, and sauté it with the onion. Garnished with crumbled bacon. The saltiness balance the squash’s sweetness, and the smokiness adds depth.
Swirl in some heavy cream or coconut milk for a creamy version of this soup.
Add ancho chile and smoked paprika. Ancho chile gives the soup just a little punch of heat, while smoked paprika gives it a pleasant smoky edge. Both balance the natural creamy sweetness of Red Kuri squash, much in the same way that red curry paste does.