Kabocha Squash Soup with Pomegranate and Pepitas
- 1 small kabocha squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 medium Gala apples (about 1 pound) peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 5 cups vegetable stock, plus more if needed
- 1 medium russet potato (about ½ pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pure maple syrup, toasted pepitas and pomegranate arils, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the squash cut side down on baking sheet, and roast until completely tender when pierced with a knife, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool to the touch. Scoop out 2 cups of flesh and set aside, reserving remaining squash for another use. (This step can be completed up to 2 days in advance.)
- Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the vinegar, stock, potato, and reserved roasted squash. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and let cool slightly. Puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or working in batches in a standard blender. (Don’t forget to hold the blender lid tightly with a folded towel when blending hot soup!) Stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the soup between bowls. Drizzle with a little maple syrup and top with toasted pepitas and pomegranate seeds.