Friday, May 27, 2011

Kabocha Soup

I notice many soup recipes instruct us to cook the ingredients for awhile, transfer to a blender to make the soup smooth, then return to a pot on the stove to heat.  I had an idea: why not blend all the ingredients together, then simply heat and serve?  This soup involves roasting the squash first, but then the soup comes together very quickly.

If you can't find kabocha, butternut squash will substitute just fine.  The two have a similar flavor and texture.  This soup is velvety smooth, and the peanuts, if used, add a nice crunchy contrast.

Kabocha Soup

1 kabocha squash, about 2 pounds
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder, or more if desired
Dry roasted peanuts for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Poke holes with knife all over squash and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake one hour and ten minutes or until knife inserts easily into squash.  Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop flesh into blender and discard skin.

Add all remaining ingredients except peanuts to blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into large saucepan and place over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with peanuts, if desired.  Makes 3 1/2 cups or 4 servings, each about 3/4 cup with 1 point plus.

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