Saturday, December 31, 2011

coconut citrus kabocha bisque!

The marvelous kabocha squash! I was happy as pie when I found one in my grocery store, in a big bucket o' squash of different varieties. Images copyright (c) 2011 Wendee Holtcamp

Let me just start off this post saying posting one recipe a day is out... I am going to try to make one a day but posting them all on my blog is too time consuming right now (on deadline!). But I will finish this one, and do my best to keep you all updated on my faves.

Since Alicia Silverstone so raves about them in her book The Kind Diet, I had been wanting to try it but had been unable to find one anywhere. I used a substitute before, the buttercup squash, which is quite similar in coloration/look but looks sorta like an acorn whereas this one is more pumpkin shaped. The recipe I used buttercup in - a modification of her Black bean Kabocha Squash Stew (I used pinto beans) - I didn't like. I cooked the squash in the oven for that one, which is how (until the other day) I always cook squash, and I think I overcooked because the squash was really soft. That would be fine for some recipes, but I wanted chunks of it like the recipe. And I wasn't crazy about the flavor - I've never been a huge squash fan, so am trying different recipes to find the way I like squash best! I do love me some spaghetti squash.

Here's the recipe which I got from

-1 tablespoon coconut oil or 1/2 cup veggie broth
-1 medium kabocha squash, seeded and cubed
-pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
-1 orange, zested and juiced
-5 or more cups filtered water or broth
-1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
-pinch white pepper
-fresh herbs, for garnish

Heat oil or broth in medium stockpot. Sauté the kabocha with sea salt for about three minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the kabocha starts to stick to the pan. Add orange zest and juice. Sauté for two more minutes.

Add water and coconut milk and bring to boil. Simmer until kabocha is very soft (about 20 minutes). Puree with immersion blender right in the pot or in batches in a regular blender (return to pot when finished blending). Add pepper and sea salt to taste. Serve hot garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley.
The first step is cutting your squash in half, and then taking out the seeds. You need a pretty sharp/big knife to cut through the squash.
The recipe calls for you to put the squash in cubes in a pan, where you saute and then boil it and so, normally I just plop the whole thing in water in the oven but I thought, ok, I'll try to peel and cut it up. Let me just say - total p.i.t.a! So much of a pita that I ...
...only peeled one half for the soup and baked the other half. To bake squash you put it in about an inch of water and then bake at around 350 until soft when pierced with a fork.
I zested an organic orange (I did wash it, even though it was organic) and then juiced it in my juicer. Since some folks may not have the ability to juice, it created exactly 1/2 cup of orange juice so that's what you would use if you just used juice. I sauteed in broth but added a teeny tiny amount of coconut oil also just for flavor. Then of course you also add a whole can of (light in my case) coconut milk later.
Here you can see the chunks of squash boiling in the rest. After they are soft, you puree them together either in a blender or food processor. I added only about 1/2 of the oven-baked squash to the recipe, because I wanted to save some for another purpose, plus all of the half I peeled/cut in chunks of course. I don't have any photos of me pureeing the soup (bisque technically - I almost just wrote techniquelly - lol!)And here is the final product! Here's the scoop: when I first tasted it, fresh out of the pot, I was disappointed. The coconut and citrus flavors were lost and it seemed bland. I added a little bit more salt, and then a dash of shoyu (like soy sauce) and then I decided, since miso is really helpful for digestion and is basically a probiotic, to throw in 2 teaspoons of miso (The Kind Diet raves about miso and puts it in a lot of recipes). That actually helped. However it still wasn't the best thing ever. BUT...

I put the pot in the fridge and had it again last night (I made it 2 days ago) and it was WAY better! The orange flavor came out substantially more. Strangely, the coconut flavor seems lost. If I made again, I'd recommend using coconut oil to saute the chunks in first, which gives a stronger coconut flavor. I love coconut! It wasn't that the soup ever tasted bad, it just didn't live up to what I expected. But I definitely prefer it with the miso and after settling for a day.


Anonymous said...

Just had some kabocha myself a couple of nights ago. We usually cube (using a knife to remove the rind or you can eat around it) and roast it with some olive oil, salt, and chili powder for about 20-25 minutes at 400 degs, turning halfway through.Very tasty.

Unknown said...

Cool! I am not totally crazy about it on its own. I prefer butternut or spaghetti squash which i LOVE! Who is this btw? Thanks for visiting and commenting!