In autumn, there’s an array of edible squashes available in many shapes and sizes. Time to think outside the butternut.
Red Kuri, also called baby red hubbard, is a Japanese heirloom variety that is teardrop-shaped with faint stripes on its skin. The flesh is dense with a deep orange hue that is sweet with a naturally creamy texture, almost like chestnuts. It’s ideal for soups, as it whirs into a velvety texture, roasted with skin-on (no fuss) as a veg side or as mock fries, pureed in baked goods, and its hallowed out shape is terrific for stuffing.
Approaching a Red Kuri can seem daunting. Don’t be intimidated. Wielding a large sharp knife, halve the squash from top to bottom. Remove the seeds with a large spoon; or better yet, an ice cream scoop does the job well. Once seeded, cut into smaller pieces and peel off the skins (if not using) with aforementioned knife. The labor will be well worth the results.
Makes about 10 cups to Serve 8*
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large shallots, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 (2 inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably Madras
- 2 (2 1/2 lb) Red Kuri squash, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
- 1 Golden Delicious apple or Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- kosher salt for seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups well-stirred coconut milk (from a 13.66 oz can)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Heat oil in a heavy 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add shallots and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (but not browned), about 5 minutes.
- Add curry powder and toast, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add kuri squash and apple (or pear) and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to soften, 10 minutes.
- Add broth, water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, then continue to simmer, partially covered, until squash is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in coconut milk.
- Let cool slightly then puree in batches until very smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Served sprinkled with scallion.
*This soup freezes well or feeds enough for a crowd. Think: Thanksgiving.