This soup can be made with either acorn or butternut squash in place of the kabocha. Kobocha squash is closest to pumpkin in texture and flavor, making its sweetness one of the reasons I chose it for the recipe.
Bare in mind that the easiest way to remove skin from a squash is to roast it in the oven at 400 degrees, which usually takes up to a half hour. Because I am keen on saving time, I decided to peel the squash with a hand peeler, and cook the veggies in the stock on the stove. Since squash is usually awkwardly shaped, peeling may not be ideal for some. Use whatever methods seems easiest to you.
Lastly, the original composition of the soup involved pumpkin seed crusted turkey bacon “croutons.” I love the turkey bacon accent, but I am also trying to promote healthy, sustainable, vegan options for people who have enough processed meats in their lives….. Plus “kabocha squash soup with pumpkin seed crusted turkey bacon croutons” would have been an absurdly long title for anything. Experiment with whichever option you fancy.
2lbs kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch chunks
1T+1t coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6c vegetable stock
4 slices of turkey bacon (optional)
1/3c pumpkin seeds, ground
smoked sea salt to taste
1 bunch of scallion
In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil on the stove over medium heat, and add onions and squash. Cook until onions appear translucent, about 5-7 minutes, and add the vegetable stock. Leave the soup covered on medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes. When the squash is easily pierced by a fork, it is time for it can be removed from the stove. Add mirin to the stock and blend all of the contents in a pot with a hand blender. If one is not available, you can split the soup and half blend the contents one at a time.
If you are using the vegan option, simply coat the pumpkin seeds in 1 teaspoon coconut oil and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, turning them once. When they come out, season them liberally with smoked sea salt.
For the turkey bacon option, grind the pumpkin seeds, and press the turkey bacon slices into the “crumbs.” Place 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat and cook the turkey bacon all of the way through on each side, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Season with smoked sea salt when done. Allow the turkey bacon to cool and then chop it into croutons.
When serving, ladle soup into the bowl and place the seeds (or bacon in the center). Slice scallions on a bias and garnish.