A little spice makes everything nice, especially when it comes to hearty, belly-warming soups. Chef David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor) adds kick to his red kuri squash soup with cardamom, cumin, and coriander. A topper of fried chestnuts, cooked cranberries, and whipped cream balances with just enough sweetness.
Oh gourd, you’ll love it.
Red Kuri Squash Soup
Serves eight to twelve, with leftovers
2 lb. red kuri squash
1½ c. onion, diced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 c. white wine
21 c. vegetable stock
1. Roast the squash in a 350º oven 60-90 minutes, or until soft. When cool, scoop out the flesh.
2. Sweat onion and garlic in butter in a large pot on medium heat until soft.
3. Add the spices (cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon) and white wine. Cook on medium heat until liquid is reduced by half.
4. Add squash flesh and vegetable stock.
5. Simmer on medium-low heat 30 minutes.
6. Puree the ingredients in the pot with an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, transfer in batches to a blender). Strain with a conical mesh strainer and season with salt to taste.
7. Optional: Garnish with fried chestnuts and cooked cranberries (recipes below) and top with freshly whipped unsweetened cream.
6 chestnuts (remove outer shells)
1 tbsp. butter
1. Slice chestnuts as thinly as possible.
2. Saute chestnuts and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until lightly toasted.
3. Remove from pan and pat dry on a paper towel.
4. Season with a touch of salt.
½ c. frozen cranberries
4 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. water
1. Combine all ingredients in a small pot. Cook on medium heat until cranberries are tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Strain the cranberries from the liquid and set aside.
Try chef Bazirgan’s version at Fifth Floor, 12 4th Street, between Market and Mission Streets (415-348-1555 or fifthfloorrestaurant.com).
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Photo: Eric Wolfinger / Courtesy of Fifth Floor