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It was a warm weekend in Boise, so my S.O. had the air conditioner cranked up high (the electric company loves us, I’m sure).  But 13 years after moving to the mainland, I still have Hawaii blood — I was freezing in the house all weekend.  Today I finally decided to do something about it and warm myself up with a thick, hearty bowl of soup.

I picked up a lovely kabocha squash at the market this morning.  Kabocha was the first squash I ever knew.  My grandma would prepare it often — Japanese-style in a light shoyu-sugar glaze.  And because I remember her preparation so fondly, I can’t deviate from an Asian flavor profile when I cook kabocha.  But I didn’t want this soup to be overtly Asian, either.  So I opted for low-key ingredients that would enhance and draw attention to the rich nuttiness of the kabocha.  Antioxidant-packed black rice was perfect in this role, and the drizzle of coconut milk ties it all together.

This recipe is also vegan, and I would suggest keeping it so.  Vegetable broth better complements kabocha than chicken or beef broth — it’s a touch sweeter and milder, and a little less pronounced.

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Roasted Kabocha & Black Rice Soup

Serves 4

  • 1/2 kabocha squash, seeded
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 3/4 C black rice
  • 1/2 C + 3 C vegetable broth
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  1. Quarter the kabocha.  Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper.  Roast in 360°C oven for 50 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 C vegetable broth and 3/4 C water to boil in a large saucepan.  Add black rice, and boil for a minute.  Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Once kabocha is cool, scrape flesh from the skin.  It should yield 3-4 cups.  Place kabocha in another large saucepan with 3 C vegetable broth, over medium heat.  Bring to boil, and cook until kabocha has softened.  Use immersion blender (or transfer to upright blender) to purée until smooth.  Add grated ginger, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste, then mix well.
  4. To serve, pour kabocha soup into bowl, add rice, then top with coconut milk.

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