Roasted Kabocha Squash and Celery Root Soup

Kabocha Squash and Celery Root Soup

This soup is adapted (ever so slightly) from a favorite soup-oriented cookbook—Anna Thomas’ Love Soup.  If you don’t have turnips, substitute a slightly larger squash, more celery root or a few carrots.  Celery root is the gnarly subterranean root of the common celery plant.  It’s an overlooked treasure—loaded with vibrant celery flavor and a nice crunch.  You’ll enjoy it raw as well as cooked—shave some into a green salad for a change of pace.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 kabocha squash, or other large winter squash (about 2.5 pounds)
  • 3 medium turnips, peeled
  • 1 medium celery root (about 12 ounces)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion
  • large pinch fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (or a smaller pinch of the dried herb)
  • 6 cups low-salt broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • garnish of toasted pecans, walnuts or pistachios

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut squash in half with a sharp knife, and scoop out seeds and underlying stringy pulp.  Place halves cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Peel celery root down to the white flesh and cut into approximately one-inch cubes.  Cut turnips into one-inch cubes.  Toss the turnip and celery root with enough oil to lightly coat and sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt.  Spread across a rimmed baking sheet, in a single layer.  Place baking sheets into the oven and roast vegetables until tender (about 45 to 60 minutes).  Pierce with a fork to judge when they are done—the fork should glide in easily.  Use a spatula to turn the turnips and celery root once or twice during cooking; they will turn a light golden brown as they cook.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Scoop the flesh from the squash and discard the skin.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, warm 2 to 3 tablespoons oil.  Sauté onions with rosemary and a dash of salt until they are soft and golden brown, stirring frequently.
  3. Add roasted vegetables, broth and a teaspoon of salt to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are very soft.  Turn off the heat.  Using a handheld immersion blender purée mixture in the pot until completely smooth (alternatively, cool the mixture slightly then purée in a food processor).  Add a bit more broth if the soup is too thick to suit you.  Stir in a pinch of cayenne, the lemon juice and maple syrup.
  4. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Continue to cook for several minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until butter turns a light golden brown.  Stir butter into the soup.  Taste soup and add more salt, lemon juice or maple syrup as needed to taste.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped nuts on each bowl.
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