Thanksgiving First Course- Roasted Squash Soup

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I absolutely love when my friends send me recipes to try! Not only am I always ready to try something new in the kitchen, it makes me feel good to know that someone was thinking of me while they ate a yummy meal. Love it! I was thrilled the other night when my super sweet friend, Hamta, texted me a link to a squash soup recipe she tried and loved. Hamta and her husband, Alex, are a part of our Life Group at church and are one of the sweetest and most genuine couples I know. They are Menu Therapy subscribers and love to get in the kitchen and cook yummy food. Alex actually surprised us all with his stellar cooking skills on a trip to Lake Tahoe last winter. Such a fun couple!

The best part of trying recipes from friends is when they turn out to be a complete home run. This Roasted Squash Soup is just that- out of the park! Hanna suggested swapping the butternut squash out for Kabocha Squash. If you’ve never tried it before, like I had not, don’t be scared. It’s fantastic! I actually rarely like dishes prepared using butternut squash. I’m not sure why- I really want to like it, but something about it always leaves me feeling “meh.” Not so with the kabocha! This “Japanese pumpkin” can be found in any grocery store.  Look for the squash with dark green skin and white to light green stripes, shaped like a small pumpkin.

Photo credit from chow.com

I wanted to share this recipe with you now because I think it would make the PERFECT first course for your Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s sweet, nutty and is in no way overpowering, and it definitely won’t fill you up too much to enjoy the rest of your dinner. To go the extra mile on presentation, reserve and clean up a few of the seeds while you’re prepping the kabocha.  Then, once you remove the squash from the oven, toss the seeds on the same buttery sheet pan with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cinnamon, lower the heat to 325 and roast for approximately 30 minutes while the soup cooks. Top each bowl of soup with a few seeds and a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ingredients:

3 – 3.5 lbs. kabocha squash, seeded and quartered
Unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 garlic clove, minced
small shallot, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1/8 cup honey, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
toasted squash seeds, for garnish (see blog)

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the quartered squash onto a half sheet pan, brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender.
  3. In a 6 quart pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and sauté 2 minutes, careful not to burn. Scoop the flesh from the skin of the squash and add to the pot. Add the broth, honey and ginger.
  4. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Using an immersion or stand blender, puree the mixture until smooth*. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with the remaining salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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