Béatrix’s Red Kuri Soup {ffwd}

Red Kuri Squash

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE SOUP! This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was so simple to prepare. The hardest part was finding the right kind of squash: a red kuri squash.

Red kuri squash are not in the typical lineup of butternut, buttercup, delicata and acorn, but is worth seeking out. It is the color of a pumpkin but it has a teardrop shape and no ridges. Red kuri is a variety of the hubbard squash (cucurbita maxima) family. What makes it distinct is the chestnut-y flavor of its flesh. Also, the skin isn’t as thick as many squash varieties, so you can get away with NOT peeling it, a plus in my book.

Sourcing the red kuri squash was a bit of challenge, but, in the end, also amusing. Ever since our November schedule was announced, I was on the lookout to find one as I made the rounds of my usual haunts. Many varieties of squash were available, but never red kuri. As this week approached, I made a trip out to a farm stand in Concord that grows many heirloom varieties. Their squash selection was broad, but I didn’t see red kuri. When I asked if they had any, I was told they sold out for the season the day before. Argh! Onward…

I went to the large farm stand here in Lexington. They grow lots of vegetables, but the varieties tend to be more pedestrian. I saw some squash that looked right, but it was labeled ambercup, so I asked about red kuri. An entertaining conversation ensued.

The farm stand guy said that the squash I was looking at was a red kuri variety. He also said that they were the only farm in the area that grew it (which I knew was wrong because I’d just been somewhere that was out of it). I pointed out the ambercup sign to make sure we were talking about the same squash. He then said the sign was wrong (and proceeded to take it down as we talked). He said the variety on display was called golden nugget. I wasn’t confident in his information, so I asked if the skin was edible and if the squash tasted nutty. He said no. However, a woman standing next to the same squash said she had bought some the week before and really enjoyed it because it had a chestnut-y flavor and the skin was so tender after cooking that she could eat it. That made me sure I was buying the right squash.

I’ll also mention that when the cashier rang me up, she entered it as ambercup, so I think the sign was right all along. When I returned home, I googled red kuri, ambercup, and gold nugget and gold nugget is a completely different squash. I admire his insistent enthusiasm, but he does need to get up to speed on the varieties they sell.

This soup is so easy to make. All the ingredients go into the pot, no preliminary sautéing is required. Thick slices of leeks, chunks of unpeeled squash, and liquid. I used half the liquid knowing that I like my soups thicker than Dorie does. I am also not wild about milk in soup, so I used all water. The soup simmers for about half an hour, until the squash is tender, and then it gets pureed in the blender. That’s it!

Leeks and Squash

The squash was filled with big seeds reminiscent of a Halloween pumpkin’s seeds. While the soup pot simmered, I cleaned up the seeds, tossed them with olive oil and Old Bay seasoning (I am a Maryland girl, after all!), and roasted them in the oven for 20 minutes. The seasoned squash seeds made a perfect garnish for the soup along with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Bowl of Béatrix's Soup

This recipe is a winner! I’ll keep my eye out for red kuri squash and the next time I spot one, I’ll definitely make Béatrix’s soup again. (I actually made this back in 2011. I’d noticed this recipe in the book but had never seen red kuri squash before. When I saw it for sale at a farmers market, I bought one and tried it. I didn’t blog about it then, waiting for it to be in the FFwD lineup. To be honest, I haven’t seen a red kuri squash since.)

The recipe can be found on page 78 of Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see how the other Doristas made out, check out their links here.

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! Until next week…


Posted on 28 November 2014, in French Fridays with Dorie, Soup and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. This is my new favourite soup – it shows up often in our organic box delivery and I love the colour and flavour! Hope you had a happy T’giving!

  2. I agree that the the simple fact that this squash doesn’t need to be peeled is a huge plus and is indeed one of the reasons that I buy it so often. Too funny to hear about your experience trying to find one.

  3. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! The soup is just right for the season!

  4. Hi Betsy, the soup looks wonderful with ease in preparation. I did enjoy your story on the hunt for the red kuri squash and admire your persistence. Love the use of the Old Bay on the pumpkin seeds too. Hope you enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving!

  5. Your soup looks lovely! And your garnish is perfect, too. Nope, Bill wouldn’t touch it. I think some Old Bay would have improved mine…it needed a boost of flavor :)

  6. I love that you roasted the seeds, too. I wasn’t that organized when I made it. And your farm stand story is perfect!

  7. You are right about finding the squash being the hardest part. I bought a cute pumpkin but the skin clearly didn’t get soft when I cooked it. Glad you liked it with the proper squash.

  8. Oh, it would have been great to browse all those farm stands. I’m sure that even though there were no kuri squash, there must have been other fun fall finds. Yesterday we browsed around the Fresh Pond Whole Foods to see if there were any to take home for making the ‘real’ soup – no luck there!

  9. I find red kuri squash at our farmers’ market in the fall, but only one stand has it. I don’t often see it in the grocery store. I’m glad you were able to find it as it is really delicious and so pretty.

  10. Betsy, love your story, which I will entitle “the hunt for the red kuri squash”…seriously, I am just glad that peolple around here admire that sqaush, making it rather readily available. Lovely, wonderful soup!
    I will be around to comment on all the Cottage Cooking Club posts later tomorrow – “see” you then!
    Have a nice Saturday,

  11. Hi Betsy, love red kuri squash, your soup looks delicious. I am fortunate that our farmers market always seem to carry them.

  12. I have never seen red kuri in any of my food stores, not even Wegman’s and that is surprising. Your soup looks wonderfully delicious. Loved the photo on FB with
    Adriana, just lovely.

  13. I agree that the ease with which this soup comes together (not having to peel!) makes it very attractive. I, too, did the whole keeping an eye out thing as well for the kuri squash! Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely!

  14. Interesting I never heard of the type of squash you made. I will look for it. Love the idea of the seeds with Old Bay… but now you got me hungry for crab!

  15. The things we do to source ingredients :-) I am pretty sure that more than one shopkeeper must think I am totally nuts.
    Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

  16. Oh, but this sounds so good!

  17. Hi Betsy! Loved the story of your hunt for red kuri! I lucked into mine and haven’t seen another one! Very clever of you to roast the seeds for a garnish! I hope that red kuri becomes more popular in the U.S. Its so nice to skip the peeling!

  18. Your red kuri story makes me laugh. I think that guy was going to say anything he thought you wanted to hear all in the name of selling you that squash. What a great idea to roast the seeds and use them for the garnish. Next time. Like you,for a year or two I’ve always been on the look out for a red kuri squash with no success. Just by chance, Whole Foods carried some this month and I grabbed two of them. When I was at WF’s the next week, there were gone!

  19. Hi Betsy, I often see Red Kuri squash in H Mart and sometimes, believe it or not, in the nearby Market Basket. While I know you want to find a locally grown specimen whenever possible, you can still make this soup in winter, long after the growing season, if you look in at
    H Mart, as the variety is prized by the Japanese and is often called Hokkaido squash. Of course you may not want to eat the skin if your squash was not organically grown. The soup sounds lovely!!

  20. Kimball farm sold them, as well as blue hubbards. Whole foods in Woburn also had some, but like Wilson’s labeling was wrong. Misty brook farm also has them at their stand. I usually buy a ton of them, peel it, cut it up, roast it for a couple hours in a low oven and then freeze in bags. Takes awhile to roast them, but I get to enjoy all winter long. Best roasted veggie or soup ever!

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