I like to consider myself to be a bit of a squash connoisseur. Or maybe even a squash whisperer, if you will.
But recently, I realized there was one squash missing from my repertoire: red kuri squash.
I’ve passed these bright, red-skinned beauties at the market many times. They were certainly enticing enough based on their color, shape and size alone. And I knew from my readings that their flesh was rich and creamy with a mellow sweet and nutty flavor. Yet I would always reach for my more familiar standbys: butternut and delicata squash. But then a few weeks ago, I decided on a whim to toss one into my shopping cart. And now I don’t think I’ll ever look back. Red kuri squash is taking up a permanent residency in my kitchen!
I decided to make a puréed soup, so I took some direction from one of my favorite butternut squash soup recipes and finally landed on this version of Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola.
I started by roasting the red kuri squash, using my friend Traci’s instructions for roasting whole pumpkins (which I also did earlier this Fall to make these pumpkin chocolate puddings), then I scrapped out the softened flesh and combined it in a large stockpot with fennel, apple, shallots, garlic and vegetable broth. After puréeing the soup, I added a touch of heavy cream to make it extra smooth and luxurious. But you could certainly skip this ingredient all together. Or try using coconut cream instead, if you prefer.
I dressed this soup up with a few microgreens for extra color. And a nutty, savory granola for major crunch. Because I firmly believe that puréed soups should never be served naked.
Savory granola is something that I’ve been wanting to play with for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge and tried out a couple recipes (today’s recipe is adapted from this one I found on Bon Appetit). I’m finding lots of ways to use it, including salads and breakfast bowls. I think once you try it, you’ll be hooked, too!
I’m sharing the recipe for this Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola as part of our monthly seasonal eating initiative organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. Becky has lots of recipe suggestions for December, which you can find here in her December produce guide. And you can also have a peak at the recipes linked up below to see what some of my other blogging friends have created for this month. I hope you find some inspiration for your Holiday gatherings!
December Eat Seasonal Recipes
Beet & Pomegranate Green Smoothie by JoyFoodSunshine
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette by Flavor the Moments
Mini Fruitcakes by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Twice Baked Baby Potatoes by She Likes Food
Roasted Butternut Squash and Grape Crostini by Vintage Mixer
This post was originally published here on December 19, 2014. I’ve since updated the photographs and text. Please let me know if you try it out for the Holidays!
I sure hope so. Because today I’m bringing back an old favorite from way back in the day (circa 2014, which is like an eternity in the blog-o-sphere): my Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread.
I still remember the first time I ever made this recipe. Because as soon as I pulled it out of the oven, I immediately snapped a photo of the finished product and sent it to my Mom with the caption “Look! I made something pretty!”. I was so stupidly proud of how beautiful the bread turned out, that I just had to share that moment with someone. And my Mom was the obvious choice. Because really, who else can we brag to about all our accomplishments, even if they seem silly and insignificant?
In my eyes, however, this Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread was a masterpiece of epic proportions. Luckily, my Mom agreed with me.
Since that fateful day, I’ve made several other versions of this sweet, yeasted bread. The base recipe never fails to rise and bake up perfectly. And it’s show stopping presentation is one that always has my family and friends ooh-ing and aah-ing. It’s perfect for a special occasion, like Christmas brunch. Or for any weekend morning when you have a few hours of extra time on your hands. I love waking up early on a cold Winter morning to start the dough rising while I enjoy my first cup(s) of coffee. Nothing fills my kitchen with warmth and happiness like fresh, homemade baked goods.
Please don’t be intimated by the braiding part (steps 10 and 11 in the recipe instructions). It’s really not that complicated. And it doesn’t have to be perfect, either. The different sized swoops and swirls is what I think makes this bread feel so inviting and homey. It’s perfectly imperfect in all the best ways!
Recipe adapted from my Pecan Sticky Buns