Kuri Soup with Ancho and Apple

Bright apple, nutty kuri squash and spicy/smoky ancho chilies blend together in this warming soup from James Beard award-winning Chef Rick Bayless.
Photos by Alexandra Rowley / Styling by Erin Merhar

Courtesy Rick Bayless, chef, Cervecería Cruz Blanca and Leña Brava

This flavorful squash soup from James Beard award-winning Chef Rick Bayless gives warmth to any dinner. Apples bring a bright note to the nutty flavor of kuri squash, while ancho chilies add mild heat and a touch of smoke. Bayless is the proprietor of Chicago’s Frontera Grill, Xoco and the Michelin-starred Topolobampo. He recently opened a Chicago brewery and taqueria, Cervecería Cruz Blanca, as well as Leña Brava, which features the largest Mexican wine list in the United States.

Ingredients
  • 1 medium kuri squash, about 3 pounds (may substitute sugar pumpkin)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 dried ancho chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Dried apple chips, for garnish
  • Fried thyme leaves, for garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
Directions

Peel squash, chop off stem end and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop seeds into small bowl and reserve; pull out stringy fibers. Chop squash into 1-inch pieces, about 3 cups.

In medium (3-quart) saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add seeds and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden and seeds start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add chili pieces. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 1–2 minutes. Add squash, apple, pepper, cinnamon and 1 quart water. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until very tender, about 30 minutes.

Ladle into blender, being careful not to fill all the way and working in batches if necessary, and blend until completely smooth. Pass soup through medium mesh strainer set over pot. Season to taste with salt and sugar. Divide among bowls. Top with apple, thyme leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm. Serves 8.

Pair It

A glass of bubbly poured from a magnum ensures all will participate in a holiday toast. J Vineyards & Winery’s 2009 Vintage Brut is a California sparkler that offers flavors of Granny Smith apple and strawberry, and a strong vein of minerality. The wine’s freshly baked bread note complements the slightly sweet flavor of squash, while lively acidity will hold its own against the heat of the chilies and the brightness of the apples.

Published on December 12, 2016
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email: mikeandjeff@wineenthusiast.net



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