By Luke Chavez
The Times 

Kabocha Squash and Celery Root Soup

My recipes|Luke Chavez

 

October 14, 2021

Luke Chavez

Autumn, with its crisp sunny days and frosty nights, such as we have had this past week, is my favorite time of year. Watching the leaves change color, donning cozy sweaters, and tending bubbling pots of soup, are how I celebrate this season. Of all the ingredients used in the fall kitchen, winter squash is probably the most versatile. Sweet or savory, there are countless ways to enjoy the many shapes and colors of the squash family. Here the squash is roasted before being pureed into a silky and comforting soup.

Ingredients:

5 cups peeled, ¾-inch cubed kabocha squash (see notes), about 1 ½ pounds

1 ½ cups peeled, ¾-inch cubed celery root (see notes), about ½ pound 1 medium onion, quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon ground mace

Salt

Fresh ground black pepper

½ cup dry white wine

1 quart chicken stock

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon butter

Fresh herbs for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl toss squash, celery root, onion, mace, fennel seeds and olive oil together. Spread mixture in a single layer on baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast in heated oven, tossing occasionally, until soft and golden, about 45 minutes.


Transfer roasted vegetable mixture to a large pot. Add wine, stock, thyme, and sage, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and then simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Then remove cover and take off heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.


Puree soup in a blender, in batches, until very smooth. Use caution blending hot liquids; open the vent on blender lid, and never fill blender more than halfway. Return soup puree to pan, place over medium heat and bring back to a simmer. Add cider vinegar and cook off for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary. When done, take off heat and stir in the butter. Serve with more chopped fresh sage or parsley, and plenty of black pepper, garnished over the top.

Notes:

Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash, with a dark green hard skin and a sweet flavor similar to pumpkin. We had great luck growing Kabocha squash this year from seed in our garden, but it can also be found in many large groceries or farmers markets. If you cannot find Kabocha squash fear not! You can substitute any of your favorite winter squash for this recipe, such as butternut, acorn, or Hubbard squash.


Celery root, or celeriac, is one of my favorite root vegetables, and can be found in most large grocery stores. Here, it's earthy herbaceous flavor is a beautiful balance to the sweetness of the squash. If you can't find celery root, use celery ribs in the same quantity, peeling the outer fibrous layer and coarsely chopping before roasting.

For a more refined texture you can run the puree though a fine sieve after blending. A splash of heavy cream could also make this a little more decadent.

Serve this comforting soup as a first course to a slow roasted meat, or as a main course with crusty bread for dipping and a large salad to make a satisfying supper. Enjoy!

 

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