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Creamy Kabocha Sweet Potato Pomegranate Soup

Kabocha Sweet Potato Pomegranate Soup

Adapated from Elizabeth Andoh’s “Ohisama No Wan” Recipe (p.80), An American Taste of Japan

Makes 4 servings

1/2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1/3 kabocha squash, peeled and seeded
1 sweet potato, peeled
Pomegranate molasses and fresh pomegranate arils, to garnish (optional)

1.In a large saucepan, saute the shallots in the butter over low heat until wilted (about 4 minutes).  Sprinkle the flour over them and cook them for about 2 minutes, while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Season the shallots with the salt and pepper and add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and whisk until smooth.  Continue to cook while stirring with the whisk, until the  mixture thickens considerably.  Whisk in 1 1/2 cups more chicken stock and the freshly grated ginger.  Let the soup simmer while preparing the vegetable mash. The soup should simmer for at least 10 minutes and up to 15.

2. Prepare the vegetable mash: Cut the squash and sweet potato into 1- to 2-inch cubes.  In a medium saucepan, bring several cups of salted water to a boil and cook the squash and sweet potato in it for 5 to 6 minutes or until just tender.  Drain the vegetables, then add the cup of remaining chicken stock.  With a potato masher, mash the vegetables into a rough puree.

3. Add this puree to the simmering soup and stir well to combine.  Heat the soup through over medium heat.   Serve the soup hot with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and a sprinkling of fresh pomegranate arils on top (optional).