Red Kuri Squash Soup with Crispy Bacon and Slivered Almonds
The delightfully sweet Japanese winter squash featured in this recipe pair exquisitely with the salty, crispy bacon to form a delicious and comforting cold weather soup. Red kuri, or kabocha, squash are called "potimarron" (a combination of the words for pumpkin and chestnut) in France and are available throughout fall and early winter.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, extra virgin
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 3 pounds Kuri/kabocha squash, cut horizontally in half, seeded
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 6 slices double smoked bacon, cut into lardons
- 0.25 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 175ºC / 350ºF.
- Prepare the squash: Cut it in half and spoon out the seeds. Cut each half into 5 or 6 large pieces and place on a baking sheet. Brush with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Place the almonds on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for a few minutes, or until golden.
- Cook the soup: When the squash is nearly done, sauté the bacon until crispy. Then, remove bacon with slotted spoon and reserve. Drain off and discard the fat except for about 2 teaspoons. Return the pot to medium heat and cook the onion for about 5 minutes, without browning. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil and let simmer. Scoop the squash out of its skin and add to the soup pot. Stir the chunky mixture to combine ingredients and let simmer a few minutes, adding more stock if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Finish and serve the soup: Using an immersion hand-blender, blend until smooth and creamy. Reheat the bacon in the microwave. Serve in warm soup bowl. Garnish with teaspoon of crème fraîche in the middle (optional), and sprinkle the lardons and sliver almonds on top.