Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 2 hr • Yield: 8 cup or 2 quarts
- 1 medium kabocha squash, about 2-pounds
- 3 medium leeks to yield about 1 cup sliced, just the white part
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 medium-size sweet apples, i.e. Fugi’s, to yield 2 – 2 ½ cups sliced apples
- 6 cups chicken stock, divided
- ½ - 1 tablespoon garam masala spice
- ½ - 1 tablespoon sea salt, depends on the saltiness of your stock
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Carefully cut squash into 6 pieces and remove seeds.
- Place squash face side down in a shallow pan, add about ½ inch water and roast for about one hour until flesh is soft.
- While the squash is roasting, slice leeks into ¼ inch disks and wash thoroughly.
- Slice apples into thin slices.
- In a soup kettle melt ghee and add leeks and cook on low for 10 minutes. Add apples and 1 cup broth and simmer covered on medium low until apples and leeks are tender and leeks are translucent, about 20 minutes.
- Add remaining 5 cups broth to kettle.
- In a small sauté pan, warm garam masala on very low heat until it becomes fragrant, and set aside. (Optional, but suggested; see tips below.)
- When the squash is done, peel off skin with a paring knife and add to kettle.
- In an electric blender, blend soup in batches until it is smooth and creamy and return to kettle.
- Add garam masala and salt to taste .
- Leave on very low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Tips and Notes: Garam masala is a blend of ground aromatic spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines, and you can find it in most grocery stores. Step 8, is optional, but roasting spices uses gentle heat to release the spice's hidden aromatic and flavorful oils. Bringing out the full flavor often makes the spice earthier, richer, and fuller.
The beauty of most soups is that they are very forgiving and allow for individual flavor adjustments. If you like a sweeter soup, add more apples. If you have your favorite spice blend use it instead of garam masala. If you want more pungency, use onions instead of leeks. If you like your soup thinner, add more chicken stock. No rules…. You can use other winter squash for this recipe, but I’ve found kabocha to be the creamiest and most flavorful, and more robust than other squash.
The soup is even better after a day or two when the flavors have melded, and it freezes well. The recipe easily doubles but you may need to adjust the garam masala. You can share the squash seeds with the birds, or roast them for snacking. To roast: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Thoroughly wash seeds in a bowl of cool water to remove all the flesh, and thoroughly dry. Melt 1 teaspoon(s) coconut oil and toss seeds in oil. Lightly season with sea salt. Spread seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes.
Watch them carefully for the last 5 minutes because they can burn quickly. When cool, store in a sealed container at room temperature.