I was going to make this yesterday, but it was too warm in my third floor apartment to have the oven on, and I heard today was going to be "brisk." I'll say. I went down to Target to pick up some aluminum foil and a few other things, and nearly blew right out of my frozen skin. I realize that I've lived in Minnesota all 41 years of my life, but I can never be prepared enough for that first cold day. A lady at the bus stop even went so far as to say, "I hear there's snow in some parts" and I said, "You just said 'Macbeth' in a theater, I hope you realize."
Anyway, a comforting, spicy soup was in order. Most African squash-peanut soups are made with butternut, but I am kabocha's biggest fan. It's kind of like pumpkin, only a little ...I don't know. Zestier? Anyhow, this turned out beautifully.
African Squash and Peanut Soup
makes 6-8 pretty healthy servings
To roast the squash:
1 kabocha or butternut squash, gutted and cut into wedges (reserve seeds if using kabocha; I've never tried toasting butternut seeds)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400°
Place the squash wedges in a large baking dish, and pour broth over them. Cover tightly with heavy duty foil, and bake for about 45-60 minutes, turning wedges once, until just tender. Cool on a platter, peel, and cut into small pieces (I just let it get all mashed; I like smooth soups).
To make the soup:
1 onion, finely chopped
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 quart low sodium vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (only ingredient is peanut; no added oil or salt!)
Cook the onion and garlic in a little water in a large pot or dutch oven until they start to soften. Add a little more water if the veggies start to stick. Add the squash and the rest of the ingredients, and stir well. Cook about 5 or so minutes. Serve garnished with wilted collards and cinnamon-scented kabocha seeds or sunflower seeds, almonds, or pumpkin seeds if desired.
Cinnamon Scented Kabocha Seeds
Make these while your roasted squash is cooling.
seeds from one kabocha squash, or pumpkin
1/2 tsp smoked salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Turn oven down to 300°Remove the stringy stuff from your seeds (it's okay if there's a little on there). Toss with salt and cinnamon. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake, turning often, for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Chop them up if desired.