I’m not a big cold weather fan, mostly because I like taking long walks and have a hard time warming up (and staying warm) despite many smartly layered pieces of clothing. One thing I do love about this season is squashes and soups. I adore kabocha squash, who doesn’t?!, and have been using it in everything from my Thanksgiving pie to soup to eating straight off the skin (roasted, of course). I like the thick flesh, and the roasted seeds are divine.
My digestion has been a little off lately, likely because of stress and being unable to exercise outside as much as I like, so I figured a nutritious soup would be a lovely way to take care of myself. I found myself eating it for breakfast AND lunch on multiple days, it is that good. As I tend to get hungry pretty quickly, and don’t like to snack if I can help it (she says as she munches on a piece of forbidden chocolate!), I added some beef gelatin to the soup to make it a little richer without increasing the calories too much. The added benefit of the gelatin is that my skin, nails and hair look fantastic!
1 kabocha squash
2-3 cups, or more, of stock of choice (I like: bone broth, chicken stock, turkey stock)
1.5 cups cold water
2 pieces of orange peel (approximately 1/2″x1.5″ long)
4 1/8″ slices fresh ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
3 scoops Vital Proteins beef gelatin*
Urfa biber chile flakes
Roasted squash seeds
Preheat oven to 385F
- Cut kabocha squash into large pieces (I usually cut it into quarters), and remove seeds (roast these in the oven coated in olive oil, coconut oil or ghee until richly golden brown and season with salt)
- Place on a parchment lined sheet pan
- Coat cut sides of squash with olive, or coconut, oil or ghee
- Place in oven and roast until soft (roasting times vary, I like to leave it in for about 1.5-2hrs to get caramelized a little)
- Let squash cool then scoop out of skin
- Place squash into your soup pot of choice
- Add the stock and puree with a stick blender (or blend in small batches in a blender)
- Place over low heat to heat all through
- If using the gelatin: put gelatin into some water, let “bloom” for 5 minutes then mix in with soup.
- Add ginger slices then simmer for 15 minutes – taste soup for desired thickness/thinness (adding more stock if necessary), and seasoning. I tend to like to start out with a very thick soup, then add more stock or water depending on what texture and flavor soup I prefer for that batch.
- Serve with urfa biber chile flakes, my husband likes it with goat cheese crumbled on top as well. Sometimes I’ll top mine with the roasted seeds of the squash for added texture and flavor.
Put all the ingredients (squash – peeled, seeded and chunked, stock, 1c water, orange peel, and ginger) into an InstantPot and set to cook for 12 mins, then let naturally release for an hour, then puree!
This is how I’ve been making my soup lately and it is so so so easy. It doesn’t taste as gorgeous as the roasted squash, but if you are pressed for time…
Makes about 8-12 servings, depending on your portion size.
Chinese Medicine Energetics:
Kabocha squash is also called Japanese Pumpkin, it is warming and sweet. It is known to dispel Dampness (a heavy/boggy feeling), tonify Qi and nourishes the Spleen and Stomach and regulates digestion and elimination.
Broth (Bone) is one of the best foods to help deeply nourish the body. It is high in nutrition (protein, minerals), nourishes Blood, tonifies Qi and Essence, Wei Qi (aka immune system), warms the Yang, and benefits the Kidneys, Spleen, Lungs and Liver.
Gelatin is rich in amino acids and increases digestion, assists healing (of membranes, gastrointestinal tract, cartilage and bones, soft tissues). In this sense, gelatin benefits the Kidneys, Stomach, Spleen and Lungs; as it is high in amino acids I believe that it also benefits the Liver. I like that it feels so “Yinny” and “juicy” during these cold, dry months as it helps to smooth and nourish the skin. While it is has been swinging between chilly and warm-ish here in New York, I still have yet to fully start my winter skincare routine – I’m attributing this to this beautifully nourishing addition to my new favorite soup, and other foods.
Ginger (fresh) is warm, pungent and directs its energies to the Lung and Stomach. It is commonly drunk to help alleviate feelings of coldness and to promote healthy digestive functioning. It can be used to promote sweating for the alleviation of colds, and to alleviate nausea. Here, its function is to warm the soup, and provide a little extra digestive “oomph”. That, and I really like the bit of spicy edge that it brings to an otherwise sweet soup.
The Tao of Nutrition
* I am not sponsored by Vital Proteins! I just love their gelatin!