Kabocha is a Japanese squash, sweeter than a Butternut, with a chestnut-like texture. Widely available at Farmers’ Markets and even supermarkets. The deer got my kabochas this year, so this one was from the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market, as were the leeks.
1 Kabocha squash, 2-3 pounds
2 leeks, white part only, 1 inch pieces
4 T butter
4 cups stock
2-3 t ancho chili powder
1/2 cup creme fraiche
12 small sage leaves
Halve the squash and remove the seeds and strings. Place cut side down on a foil-covered baking sheet in a 400 degree oven and roast for about 45 minutes until soft. Scrape out flesh.
In a stockpot, saute leeks in 2 T butter to coat, add stock, squash and ancho powder, bring to low boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree and return to stockpot. Adjust seasoning.
Melt remaining butter in small saucepan over medium heat until foam is gone, add sage leaves and briefly saute, turning once, until they start to crisp. Turn off heat, remove sage leaves to paper towels to drain.
Serve the soup in warm bowls, adding a dollop of creme fraiche in the center of each bowl, drizzling with browned butter and sprinkling with sage leaves.