Prepare the kabocha squash by peeling it with a vegetable peeler or knife, and slicing it in half and then in half again. Use a spoon to remove the seeds, and then dice the squash into ~1" cubes (they can be roughly chopped). You can discard the seeds or roast them for a snack or soup topping.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium hight heat. Add the onion and sauté for approximately 5 minutes before adding the squash, apples, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender when touched with a fork.
Remove the pot from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can use a regular blender and purée the soup in batches.
Stir in the apple cider after the soup is blended. Try a spoonful of the soup and add more ginger and/or apple cider to taste.
Keep the soup warm on the stove until you serve it. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh thyme, a dollop of yogurt, more ginger, or diced apples. Enjoy!
Prep tips: Kabocha squash can be very difficult to peel and cut. Make sure you set aside enough time to do this (it can take up to 10-15 minutes), and use a sharp knife to stay safe. The delicious taste and beautiful color of kabocha squash is worth the prep time. Blending tips: If you use a regular blender to purée this soup, make sure to not overfill it as the liquid will be very hot, and crack a corner of the lid to let steam escape. Alternatively, you can take out the middle of the lid and hold a dish towel over it while blending. Blending the soup in batches is the safest way to do it.To make in the slow cooker: Combine all ingredients except for the apple cider and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or high for 3-4 hours, until the squash is fork-tender. Blend, and stir in the apple cider before serving.Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days, or in the freezer for a few months. Thaw before reheating on the stove or in the microwave.