Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cardamom Kabocha Crème Soup

     Sweet Savory Kabocha Squash Soup!
     Serving a nice soothing soup can help to create a peaceful dining tempo.  Semi sweet luxurious soups are perfect for warming up holiday dinner guests!      

     Kabocha Preparation:
     Kabocha Squash are the size of a small pumpkin.  About a 6 to 8 ounce wedge of kabocha is needed for a large bowl of soup. 
     Scrape the loose pulp and seeds off of the kabocha.  (The seeds can be toasted for a snack!)
     Place the kabocha wedge on a baking pan.
     Brush the kabocha with melted unsalted butter.
     Bake in a 300º oven, till kabocha becomes tender and sweet.  Try not to brown the squash.
     Allow the squash to cool to room temperature.
     Use a pairing knife to peel the kabocha wedge.
     Small chop the kabocha squash and set it aside.
     Cardamom Kabocha Crème Soup: 
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup!  (2 1/4 cups) 
     This holiday soup is soothing and semi sweet.  Cardamom tastes nice with kabocha squash and it creates an interesting exotic flavor. 
     Step1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring with a whisk.
     Stir the roux, till it become a white color, with very little hazelnut aroma.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of light vegetable broth or light chicken broth.
     Add 2 cups of milk.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add the reserved chopped kabocha.
     Add 1 ounce of sweet white wine.  (Sweet White Bordeaux or Lillet Blanc is a good.)
     Add 1 teaspoon of agave nectar.
     Stir occasionally, till the soup comes to a gentle boil and it becomes a very thin consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of ground cardamom.  (Cardamom can vary in strength!)
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Simmer till the ingredients become tender.
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool to a safe temperature.
     Puree the soup with an electric puree wand, food processor or blender.
     Step 5:  Return the soup to a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the soup, till it becomes a medium thin consistency.  The volume should be about 2 to 2 1/3 cups.
     Keep the soup warm over very low heat.

     After ladling the soup into a soup bowl, painting a design on a holiday soup is a nice option.  Colorful infused oils are the easiest to use, because the oil floats.  A colorful puree sauce, gastrique or fruit syrup that is light enough to be suspended on the surface of the soup can also be used.  For the painted soup in the pictures above, I used some leftover pomegranate syrup.
     The easiest way to paint a simple design on a soup is to place small drops of the colorful sauce on the soup.  Then a toothpick can be dragged through the drops of sauce, to connect the dots!
     Random designs are the easiest to do.  Flowers, sailboats and trees are a little bit more difficult to do.  "Soup painting garnishes" are fun for a home cook to do.  Children also like to make there own designs.  
     Gourmet food really is a temporary art medium, that is meant to be eaten!

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