Vegan Soup

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Hot Knives bloggers Evan George and Alex Brown warm up to Fall by creating a flavorful vegan soup that highlights Kabocha, a Japanese winter squash. The two former line cooks, who just happen to cook without meat, also have a video cooking series.

Braised Kabocha Puree
1 Kabocha squash
3 cups water
1 Tablespoon vegetarian bouillon
¼ cup sherry
2 Tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus extra

1. Split the Kabocha in two using a heavier knife and much care. When you cleave it in twain, use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and snot that usually appear in the center of pumpkin like things. If you're feeling industrious, scrub all the snot from the seeds and save them for roasting.

2. Set your oven at 400°. Place the squash face down in a roasting pan and add the water, bouillon, sherry and vinegar. Cover the whole shebang with aluminum foil and place in the oven. After about 30 minutes, check the squash by stabbing it with a fork. If the utensil penetrates the thick skin with ease, then the squash is done.

3. Remove both halves of the squash from the roasting pan, and carefully remove the skin. It's best to keep the squash face down on a cutting board and slice the skin away as if you were skinning a melon.

4. Place the meat of the squash in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or a potato masher. Slowly mix in three-fourths of the remaining braising liquid until the mixture is more liquid than solid.

5. Transfer the squash to a blender, a food processor, or grab your immersion blender. Add one cup of water and puree the squash until it is nice and smooth. Salt to taste and add another splash of sherry vinegar and a good many grinds of fresh pepper. Transfer the finished puree to a pot, and keep warm on a low heat until ready. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Music break: Creation by James Taylor Quartet