I made this when I was visiting family in California and found some fun ingredients in the pantry. Stuff like crystallized ginger, this World Salt Tower and black sesame seeds. Not to mention an excellent spice selection and hyper local produce from New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay.
Warm and hearty, this soup tastes like a decadent cream soup, but is actually more of a detox soup in that there is no dairy, little oil and is lightly spiced. You’ll also get lots of carotenoids (great for the eye health) from the squash and extra minerals from the black Cyprus salt, which is Mediterranean sea salt mixed with volcanic charcoal, a natural detoxifier.
What you need:
1 kabocha squash (about 2.5 pounds), halved and deseeded
2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 small (4-inch diameter) celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
3 cups chicken broth or light vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
crystallized ginger, very fine dice
black sesame seeds
black Cyprus salt
What to do:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Rub kabocha flesh with olive oil or avocado oil and place cut sides down on parchment. Pour orange juice into pan and place in oven. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through the skin and flesh. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a medium sauce pot, sauté the ginger, onion, celery and garlic in the coconut oil, along with the salt, over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent browning. Once the onions are translucent, add the celeriac, broth, saffron and remaining spices. Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and add to the soup. Raise heat to high, bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Ensure that the celeriac is fork tender and turn off the heat. If time permits, allow to cool 10-15 minutes. Put contents in blender, working in batches if your blender is small, and blend on high (though starting at LOW) until silky smooth. Return to pot and rewarm over low heat, adding water if necessary. Adjust for salt, keeping in mind that you will be topping with black salt just before serving.
To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with crystallized ginger (they will sink), black sesame seeds and a few flakes of black Cyprus salt.