Red Kuri Squash Soup is rich, creamy and dreamy. Savory with a subtle touch of sweetness, and a little heat, it’s perfect for a fall and winter first or main course.
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The first time I laid eyes on Red Kuri squash I bought one. The color and shape were so striking that I couldn’t pass it up.
This Red Kuri Squash Soup is my favorite thing to make using them. Both the flavor and texture lend themselves to this rich, creamy and super comforting recipe.
What is Red Kuri squash?
- Red Kuri squash, also called Hokkaido Pumpkin, is native to Japan. (Hokkaido is the name of a Japanese island where it’s grown.)
- It’s a descendant of Hubbard squash, which was introduced to Japan in the 1870’s and is now grown throughout Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and the U.S.
- This winter squash looks similar to a pumpkin with much less defined ridges and has an asymmetrical, somewhat lopsided shape.
- The skin is a stunning, deep red-orange color. It’s relatively thin and tender enough to be eaten when it’s cooked. That said, it’s still a little tough for me, and I don’t use it.
- Red Kuris average about 2 to 7 pounds, although I’ve seen both smaller and larger.
What does Red Kuri squash taste like?
After the the squash is cooked, it has an incredibly smooth and creamy texture. The flavor is nutty, mildly sweet, and a bit earthy — somewhat like chestnut.
whole roasted Kuri Squash
How to Cook Red Kuri Squash
Like most winter squash, there are all sorts of way to cook Red Kuri. It’s can be roasted whole, cut and roasted, cut and sautéed, cut and steamed.
Roasted Red Kuri Squash is my favorite, and it’s the first step to make this delicious soup.
What’s in Red Kuri Squash Soup?
- Red Kuri squash (Hokkaido Pumpkin)
- olive oil
- cream sherry
- vegetable stock
- salt, sugar, cayenne pepper
- chili oil (optional)
How to Make Red Kuri Squash Soup
– Roast the squash. (I use the same method that I use for Butternut squash.)
– When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half and use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy membranes. (Save the seeds to roast.)
– Remove the skin from the flesh. It should separate pretty easily.
– You should end up with about 2 cups of the squash flesh.
– Sauté the onion until soft and golden. Add the oregano and stir. Add the squash and stir. Let this sauté for a moment, and then deglaze the pot with sherry.
– Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer.
– Blend the soup, season to taste and garnish.
(More detailed instructions are below.)
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- This soup recipe will work exactly the same way with other winter squash, such as Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Kabocha and Pumpkin.
- You can use other herbs like sage or rosemary.
- If you don’t need or want to keep the soup vegan/vegetarian, you can use chicken stock. It will make it slightly heartier, but won’t be notably different.
- This squash soup is meant to be on the thick side, but if you find the consistency is too thick for you, just add a bit more stock until it’s how you like it.
- If you’re not sure exactly how to “season to taste,” follow this guide. It’s especially important in this recipe because of the cayenne pepper. A touch of heat is fantastic with subtly sweet squash, but be careful not to add too much. (And skip it if you don’t want it to be spicy at all.) The sugar is important in this recipe because much like salt, it helps bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients — in this case, the sweet nutty flavor of the squash.
- The drizzle of chili oil on the soup is optional. It’ll add a bit more heat, and makes for a pretty presentation.
Can you make it ahead?
This soup is great when made ahead — in fact, I like it even more the day after it’s made.
Refrigerator. This soup can be stored for four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat it with medium-low heat on the stove.
Freezer. You can freeze the soup in an airtight container for about six weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it with medium-low heat on the stove.
What to do With the Squash Seeds
Just like pumpkin and other winter squash seeds, Red Kuri squash seeds can be roasted. Here’s an excellent guide for roasting squash seeds.
I hope you love this rich and creamy Red Kuri Squash Soup as much as I do.
More Red Kuri squash recipes:
Red Kuri Squash Soup
- 1 (approximately 2 pound) Red Kuri squash (to yeild approximately 2 cups packed squash)
- ¾ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, washed and dried (plus a sprig for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons cream sherry
- 2½ cups vegetable stock
- salt, sugar and cayenne pepper to taste
- Roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the squash a few times with a fork and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. Once it’s preheated, place the squash in the oven and roast until it’s very soft, for about 1 hour. You should turn it about half way through. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
- Prepare the squash. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half and use a large spoon to gently scoop out the seeds and stringy membranes. (Save the seeds to roast, or maybe even plant.) The skin should easily pull away from he flesh. If it doesn’t, use the spoon to help you. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, as it will ultimately be puréed. You will need 2 packed cups of the squash. Discard the skin and set the squash aside. If any tiny pieces of skin are still attached to the squash, that’s okay.
- Sauté the onion with the squash. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil, place it over medium-high heat, and add the onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Add the oregano and stir. Now add the roasted squash and stir, breaking it into smaller pieces. Let this sauté for a couple of minutes, and then add the sherry to deglaze the pot. Stir with a flat-edged spatula to loosen any bits of onion or squash that might be stuck to the bottom.
- Add the stock and simmer. Add the stock, bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Purée and season. Pour the contents of the pot into a powerful blender and holding the lid on tightly, blend until it’s super smooth, about 20 seconds. (You can also leave it in the pot and use an immersion blender to purée the soup.) Season to taste with salt, sugar and cayenne pepper. (Here’s How to Season to Taste.)
- Serve and garnish. Garnish each bowl with a tiny sprig of oregano and drizzle with chili oil if desired.
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