This creamy, silky soup of red kuri squash, topped with sweet, roasted fennel is easy to make and so cozy and delicious!
What is Red Kuri Squash?
Never heard of red kuri squash? No worries, fall 2020 was when this beauty made my acquaintance thanks to Middlebury Organic Farms. I will definitely be looking out for it from now on! Red kuri squash is a thin skinned, orange colored winter squash that looks like a pumpkin without the ridges. Full flavored and sweet, red kuri squash is perfect for soups, stews and casseroles. The creamy, yellow flesh has a taste that’s similar to chestnuts. Red kuri is a great substitute for pretty much any recipe that calls for butternut squash. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of the varieties of winter squash at the farmer’s market and in the produce aisle, but I’m telling you, this will be one of your new favorites.
I have a hard time when the weather turns at the end of summer. I’m not usually one of the first ones to welcome in fall. But when fall and winter squash come in and soup starts happening, that is when I officially get into it. If you can’t find a red kuri squash, sub in kabocha squash or butternut squash. Promise you, it will be just as delicious.
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How to Make Red Kuri Squash Soup
This soup tastes very rich and complex, but it is incredibly easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. Here is what you will need:
Red Kuri Squash – one medium size should do you just fine.
Onion – I love to use sweet onion in this recipe but yellow onion is also a perfect substitute.
Shallot – adding shallot and onion gives more depth of flavor
Bay Leaf – fragrant and floral, it’s never a bad idea to throw a bay leaf into any soup!
Veggie or Chicken Broth – You can use whatever you prefer. I usually use veggie broth in vegetarian soups.
Butter – A touch of butter adds richness. If you’re keeping it vegan, add an extra glug of olive oil instead.
Olive Oil – Use good olive oil for this. The ingredients are very simple and you will taste them all!
Heavy Cream or Coconut Milk – a must for creaminess. Also, that SWIRL!
Fennel – Roast this up as a topping for the soup for a flavor combo that is ridiculous good.
Garnish – Toasted pecans (or pepitas) and a drizzle of olive oil. I also recommend lots of crusty bread with more olive oil for dipping.
The steps could not be easier. Cut up the squash, roast it – I do this step ahead of time. Many squash soup recipes instruct you to add raw cubed squash to liquid and simmer. This is totally fine but there’s nothing like roasting to bring out the natural sweetness and add another layer of flavor. Don’t skip it.
Roughly chop up onion and shallot – doesn’t have to be perfect as it’s all getting blended up anyway! Soften onions and shallot in butter and olive oil. Simmer it up with the roasted squash and veggie broth and blend. While you’re making the soup, prep and roast your fennel and you’ll be cozied up with a bowl of deliciousness in no time.
How To Prep Fennel
Fennel looks pretty weird and can be intimidating to prep, but it’s super easy. It kind of smells like licorice but it’s actually a member of the carrot family! Fennel has a strong flavor raw, but sweetens up and mellows out when you roast it, and it’s absolutely delicious. The perfect compliment to this soup. To prepare it, simple cut off the fronds or the top stalks. If the outer layer is super dirty, remove that as well. Thinly slice off the core at the bottom, cut bulb in half and then remove the rest of the core. Slice the cored bulb like you would an onion or some cabbage. Toss fennel wedges in olive oil and roast in the oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes until soft and slightly brown and caramelly.
This soup keeps beautifully in the freezer. If you’re lucky enough to happen upon red kuri squash, pick up a few and make a big batch. Then, when the craving hits, unthaw your soup, roast up some fennel and thank yourself.
Red Kuri Squash Soup With Roasted Fennel
- 1 medium red kuri squash about 2 cups roasted
- ½ sweet onion diced
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt and white pepper to taste
- pinch of cayenne pepper optional
- 1 bulb fennel
- ¼ - ⅓ cup heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
- toasted pecans or pepitas
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off top stem and slice thin layer from the bottom so that both surfaces are flat and sturdy. Carefully slice the squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and the stringiness. Cut each half into 3-4 wedges.
- Toss squash wedges with 1 tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for about 25-30 minutes until fork tender. Let cool enough to handle and remove the skins by running a spoon between the flesh and the thin skin. Set aside.
- Dice onion and shallot. Heat butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add onion and shallot and a few pinches of salt. Gently cook until soft and then add in bay leaf. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until onions are translucent. Add in roasted squash and veggie broth and simmer on low, covered for about 15 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, prep the fennel. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes until lightly browned and caramelized.
- Turn off heat on soup. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup or let cool and add to a blender. Blend until silky and smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, white pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne if desired. If using a regular blender, return to pot to warm through before serving.
- In a dry skillet, toast pecans or pepitas on medium heat until just fragrant, being careful not to burn.
- Ladle hot soup into bowls, swirl 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or coconut milk into each bowl, top with a drizzle of olive oil, roasted fennel and toasted pecans or pepitas. Serve immediately.