Yesterday I slow roasted a Kuri squash, with the intention of using it to make a pumpkin cheese cake roll for Halloween and distributing slices to my neighbors, each slice served with Bourbon whipped cream and decorated with a tiny candy knife. Today, I did not feel like baking at all, which left me with a largish container of squash purée with which to work.
I decided on soup for lunch but, despite an hour of pine needle and leaf raking beforehand, not one that was full of cream and butter, delicious though those soups are. Kuri squash, as well as being the most wonderfully vibrant color, is also a truly flavorful squash and I wanted to enhance that concentrated goodness, rather than zhuzh it up with dairy fat.
Since Kuri squash is also known as Hokkaido squash, I thought of Japanese flavors -- perhaps making the soup known as kabocha no surinagashi, which uses a dashi, soy sauce and mirin based broth to make the soup, but felt that this might overpower the squash flavor. My next idea was green tea, with which I went, and it worked really well. The earthiness of the tea subtly enhanced the flavor of the squash and tamped down some of the sweetness, which I sometimes find excessive anyway.
You can make this squash soup with green tea with any pumpkin or squash that you have on hand though, depending on the texture of the flesh, you may need to sieve it before using it in order to get a silky smooth finish, something that one does not have to do with Kuri squash.
Sometimes a simple meal is a really delicious one too.
1 cup of pumpkin or squash flesh
1 1/2 cups of very strong green tea (NOT matcha)
1 tsp sake, Vermouth, or dry white wine
Shichimi togarashi for garnish (or white pepper if you have none)
Salt to taste
Place your squash in a blender along with the hot green tea and blitz until very smooth. Season with salt.
Measure the sake into a small pan and turn the heat to high. As soon as the sake starts to bubble away at the edges, pour in the squash mixture and lower the heat to medium. Heat the soup until it is very hot, stirring from time to time so that it does not catch on the bottom of the pan and burn. Keep an eye on it as you heat it up as this soup spatters badly when not watched.
Pour into your soup bowl and add a pinch of shichimi togarashi to the surface before enjoying.