March started out on an arctic foot. Freezing temperatures, icy sidewalks, and a wintry mix welcomed us to this transitory month where winter and spring face off creating job security for meteorologists and sidewalk umbrella vendors alike.
If you’re still in hibernation mode like me you’re going to love this warming soup recipe. It’s simple to make but layered with complex flavors that take it beyond your average creamy vegetable soup. It’s light enough to be an appetizer but works just as well as a main when paired with a hefty hunk of good sourdough bread and a side salad.
Much of the subtle complexity of this soup comes from the star ingredient: kabocha squash. Kabocha squash is a type of Japanese squash with a sweet flavor akin to butternut squash, though it looks more like a small, green pumpkin. It has only 2/3 the calories of butternut squash per serving and is packed with beta-carotene which our bodies convert into Vitamin A and is essential for healthy white blood cells, a strong immune system, and good vision. Combined with antioxidant-rich curry leaves, which also deliver a rich, savory meets spicy meats sweet flavor, kabocha squash will help warm your body and keep seasonal sickness at bay.
Curried Kabocha Squash and Celeriac Soup
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, thin slices
- 2-3 Tbs Sherry Cooking Wine
- 1/2 Celeriac Root (~1 1/2 cups), peeled and chopped
- 1 Kabocha Squash (~2 1/2 cups), peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tbs Muchi Curry Powder
- 1 Tbs Dried Oregano
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Tbs Ghee (or Butter)
- 1 Cup Low-Fat Milk
- Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add olive oil, turn down to medium and sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant but not burnt (approximately 5-7 minutes).
- Deglaze bottom of pan with sherry.
- Add chopped celeriac root and kabocha squash, curry, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss in onion garlic until evenly combined.
- Add chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until a fork easily pierces the squash and celeriac but they aren’t falling apart (approximately 15 minutes).
- Remove from heat. Add ghee and milk. Stir until combined.
- Using an emersion blender while still hot (or standing blender once slightly cooled) puree soup mixture until smooth.
- Taste for salt, spice, and acid balance. Add a little more salt and pepper, a hit of your favorite spice, or a touch more sherry if need be.
Note: If you want to make this vegan, simply exchange butter for coconut oil and cow’s milk for coconut milk.