Recaps/ Seasonal Ingredients/ Seasonal Recipes/ Side Dishes

the great thanksgiving recipe swap: roasted kabocha squash & fennel soup with candied pumpkin seeds

by Sisters Running the Kitchen

This is a recipe from the fantastic cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques.  it was an amazing recipe and a recipe that I will revisit again and again.  I have made squash soups in the past, including this Butternut Squash Soup…and while that soup wasn’t bad, it definitely was not as good as this soup.  Maybe it was due to the type of squash used?  I’m not sure.  But this soup is incredible and creamy…even without cream!  Sure, you can add a dollop of creme fraiche like I did, but it is not necessary and just as delicious.  I’d recommend looking for a Kabocha Squash as they are sweeter in comparison to butternut squash.  I really enjoyed the combination of Kabocha & Pumpkin in this recipe.


  • 2 pounds Kabocha squash or another winter squash (I used Kabocha and Pumpkin)
  • 2 medium bulbs fennel
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2 chiles de arbol (I just used ground Cayenne Pepper)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup sherry
  • 10 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water (I only used 8 cups of Chicken Stock)
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • Candied pumpkin seeds–recipe follows (I used Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Kosher Salt)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.  Place the squash cut side down on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to remove the peel. Slice the squash into 1-inch thick wedges. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch-thick-wedges.

Toss the squash and fennel with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Place the vegetables flat on a baking sheet and roast about 35 minutes, until tender and slightly caramelized.

Meanwhile, toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, until the seeds release their aroma and are lightly browned. Pound them coarsely in a mortar.

Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, and when it foams, add the onions, fennel seeds, thyme, chiles, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are soft, translucent and starting to color.

Add the squash and fennel, and stir to coat with the onions for a minute.

Turn the heat back up to high and pour in the sherry.  Let it reduce for a minute or two, and then add the stock and 1 Tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Strain the soup in a colander set in a pot. Put a third of the solids into a blender with 1/2 cup of the broth. (You will need to puree the soup in batches.) Process at the lowest speed until the squash mixture is pureed. Add another 1/2 cup broth and then turn the speed up to high and pour in more liquid, a little at a time, until the soup has the consistency of heavy cream. Blend at least a minute on high speed, until the soup is completely smooth and very creamy.  Transfer to a container, and repeat with the est of the ingredients. You may not need all the liquid. Taste for balance and seasoning.  OR you can do what I did and use an Immersion Blender (makes things much easier!)…I reserved a bit of the liquid from the soup before I used the Immersion Blender in case I did not need all of the liquid.  Depending on the consistency, you may find that you want to reserve some of the liquid as well.  I did not end up adding the reserved liquid back to the soup.

Pour the soup into six bowls, spoon some creme fraiche in the center of each and scatter the candied pumpkin seeds over the top

To save time, I just used the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds I had made earlier that week with Canola Oil and Kosher Salt.  However, if you’re interested, here is the recipe for the Candied Pumpkin Seeds.

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Generous pinch each of ground cinnamon, paprika, and cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt


Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, until the seeds release their aroma and are lightly browned. Pound them coarsely in a mortar.

Melt the butter in the cumin pan over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sugar, then sprinkle the spices and a healthy pinch of salt over them.

Toss the pumpkin seeds to coat them well with the butter and cook a few minutes, until just after they begin to pop and color slightly.

Turn off the heat and wait 30 seconds. Add the honey, tossing well to coat the pumpkin seeds. Spread on a plate and let them cool.

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  • Jen
    November 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Is it possible to let readers know how many servings this is or recipes in general? Thank you.

    • jenna
      November 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      yep! I don’t write the “thanksgiving swap” recipes so that’s why there’s nothing shown here. It’s up to the recipe authors to do that. The recipes that I write and feature always have their yields listed.

    • Mary (Sisters Running the Kitchen)
      November 10, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      The recipe serves 6….sorry for not specifying!

      Thank you Jenna for posting our recipe!! =)

      • Jenn
        November 11, 2010 at 4:44 am

        Thank you!

        Jenna – I was also wondering – with the dramatic (and more “mature”) change in your blog – will this alter your book in anyways? It seems you are in more of a different “place” now than you were a year ago when you were writing the manuscript? Would love to know!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    November 10, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    yum those pumpkin seeds sound delicious!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    November 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Mmm candied pumpkin seeds? Yum!

  • J.
    November 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Now, I need these people to actually come and make this stuff for me.

    Oh, and if you have any hints at how to not eat 1/2 jar of nut butter at midnight, let me know…..

  • Tab - Just Weighing In
    November 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Candied pumpkin seeds? Sign me up!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations
    November 10, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Oh, I love the candied pumpkin seeds on top!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    November 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    fennel soup with candied pumpkin seeds.

    omg. I love fennel.

    and candied anything works, of course.

    the pairing, with the kabocha..nice. Wow. Delish.

    You are the flavor master!!! I can almost taste & smell it from here…it looks so good!

  • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
    November 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    mmm…squash squash squash! 🙂 love it.
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    November 11, 2010 at 7:02 am

    i am drooling right now! what a beautiful soup!

  • Anjali Shah
    November 12, 2010 at 12:46 am

    What a gorgeous looking soup! I’ve usually made squash soups with butternut squash – I love the idea of using Kabocha squash/Pumpkin instead! And making the candied pumpkin seeds with a bit of cumin and cayenne probably gives them a really nice sweet and spicy flavor. Thanks for sharing! I just discovered your blog and I love it – will definitely be a regular reader from now on 🙂