Confession: I'm a thanksgiving traditionalist. I'm happy to try new recipes all year long, but when it comes to that Thursday in November, I want nothing more than turkey, cornbread & biscuit dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, and cranberry sauce out of a can.
I love thanksgiving to taste like home. It might be my favorite thing about the holiday, actually. The ritual of same. I love making the same pie, the one I know my dad loves, I love the familiar taste of each dish. While I know it's far from the most important thing about the day - it's a part that makes me happy.
This soup? Most definitely won't be on my thanksgiving table. But it's perfect for these chilly days just before.
I originally picked up a kabocha squash at the market because I loved the color, dark green with splotches of orange, but now is my new favorite thing. It's sweet and creamy, and wonderful roasted. I had some sad-looking sage hanging around at the back of fridge that needed to be used, so I added it in and I love how the flavors combine.
What about you? Thanksgiving traditionalist or are you all about trying new methods & flavors?
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
1 (4-lb) kabocha squash halved and seeded
1 cup vegetable oil
20 whole fresh sage leaves plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/4 lb sliced pancetta coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast squash, cut sides down, in an oiled roasting pan in middle of oven until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin.
Fry sage leaves while squash roasts:
Heat vegetable oil in a deep small saucepan until it registers 365°F on a deep-fat thermometer. Fry sage leaves in 3 batches until crisp, 3 to 5 seconds. Transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Cook pancetta and make soup:
Cook pancetta in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until browned. Transfer pancetta with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add olive oil to pancetta fat remaining in pot, then cook onion, stirring, until softened.
Stir in garlic and chopped sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash, broth, and water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.
Purée soup in batches in a blender, transferring to a bowl. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Return soup to pot and reheat. If necessary, thin to desired consistency with water. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve sprinkled with pancetta and fried sage leaves.