Seasonal Chef: Using Kabocha Squash for an Easy Fall Soup

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Autumn officially arrived this past weekend and the weather has turned a little chilly in the evenings. It makes me a little sad to see summer heading into the rear view mirror, but looking ahead to crisp days of Fall is always fun. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, and feeling the cool nip in the air slipping through our slightly propped windows. What better way to welcome the season than making a delicious soup using ingredients that are hitting the farmers markets now? I love getting creative with soups, in any season, but Autumn is especially a perfect time of year. This latest creation is an easy to make soup containing pear and an interesting and healthy ingredient called kabocha squash.

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Kabocha (pronounced ka-BOH-ka) is considered to be a Japanese squash, generally believed to have originated in Mesoamerica and introduced to Japan in the 16th century. It is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in our bodies; so a single serving provides a huge amount of our recommended daily requirement! You will also find it to be a great source of Iron, Vitamin C and Potassium.

Kabocha is available all year round but is best in late summer and early fall. Look for one with a deep green rind, is firm and free from soft spots or mold. It should also have a bit of heaviness to it as well. Once you get it home, store your kabocha in a cool, dark and well-ventilated area. The basement is a great spot. If you cut it up and only use half, place the unused pieces in heavy zip lock bag and place in the ‘fridge for up to 5 days.

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha has a taste somewhere between a sweet potato and pumpkin with a rich, sweet and dense flesh. It can be roasted, steamed, braised or pureed into a smooth and delicious soup. An average size like the ones pictured above are about 3 pounds. You will only need half of one to make my Kabocha Squash and Pear Soup recipe. You can peel, chop and freeze the other half for another time, but I would encourage you to slice it into thick wedges and roast in the oven.

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Pan-seared Padron Peppers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

Simply season the wedges with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a dusting of mild chili powder (optional) and roast for about 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated 400-degree oven. Once it comes out drizzle with a little honey and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. For a little kick you can dress up this dish with a few pan seared padron peppers giving it a nice spicy contrast.

Kabocha Squash and Pear Soup, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

This soup could not be easier and done in under 30 minutes. Click this link: to see the how-to video for the soup. 

Seasonal Chef Maria Reina visiting Orlando in the Morning

I was so pleased to take this soup on the road last week to visit Brian Orlando and Matt Meaney from “Orlando in the Morning”on 1230 WFAS AM. A first for me and a lot of fun! They enjoyed it so much they invited me back for another visit on October 11th!

Kabocha’s will be around through the Fall, so keep an eye out and pick one up.

Buon Appetito!

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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