Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MOFO - Day 24 - Kabocha Pot Pie

I was feeling a little bit like a slacker after yesterday's post. Even if I truly feel you NEEDED to know about chips and salsa that are truly outstanding, I was feeling like I didn't give you my all. Tonight, dear readers, I feel I have redeemed my place in MoFo land.

I recently had the delicious experience of trying kabocha squash. I don't know why this delicacy has never made its way to my kitchen. Well, I bought a couple of them this past week. I had this nagging desire to make a dish with this lovely squash as the edible bowl. I kept seeing versions of shepherds pie and was contemplating making a Southwestern version of that. But suddenly it dawned on me, I had some puff pastry begging to be released from the freezer. Hmmm what to do. What to do indeed? I have this love of leeks, but never seem to make enough use of them. Oyster mushrooms, how I love thee. The marriage of the two in this dish. Well, you be the judge. This is my homage to pot pie with a bit of Japanese influence from the squash with a southwestern twist.

Now I am not trying to toot my own horn here. But both my mom (who isn't a fan of spicy) and Fred (who decidedly is a fan of spicy) both gave this 4 forks. They cleaned their plates. The combination of the sweet squash and the subtle heat from the Hatch green chiles made a little dance on the taste buds. This is a rich, homey, warm, lovely belly filler. It's also kinda pretty. It takes some time and prep. But I have to say, you won't regret it.

Kobocha Pot Pie

Makes 4 servings

2 kabocha squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced green chiles (I prefer hot)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 medium red potato, un-peeled, 1/2 inch dice
2 med carrots, halved and thinly sliced, 1 cup
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup TVP chunks or soy curls, rehydrated in 2 cups boiling water or broth
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 large sheet puff pastry

I have to admit, I wasn't really paying attention to prep times and technique because I was hanging out with my mommy, who is visiting from IL, and drinking wine. So the instructions may not be totally accurate. Early apologies.

Preheat oven to 400. Cut kabocha in half, lengthwise, making two "bowls". Place squash, cut side down, on lightly oiled large cookie sheet. Bake for 30-50 minutes depending on the size/ripeness of your squash. Squash should be softened but still have a little firmness. It is going to bake for 20 more minutes after it is filled.

In a large skillet (I used my 18" iron skillet) over medium heat, saute leeks, garlic and green chile in one tablespoon of olive oil until leeks are just softened, 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until they start to release their liquid, about 5 minutes. If your pan is dry, add a touch of veggie broth. Add salt, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, sage, and black pepper. Stir to combine and saute for about another minute. Add 3 tablespoons flour. Cook for about 5 minutes to eliminate flour flavor. Add in potatoes, carrots, green beans, rehydrated tvp chunks or soy curls and broth. using a fork or a whisk, whisk until all flour is incorprated with no lumps. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until potatoes and carrots are softened, stirring ocassionally. By this time your squash should be done.

Carefully turn your squash right side up. You should have very nice little bowls of yum. Ladle equal portions of stew mixture into each squash half. Roll out your puff pastry large enough to cut 4 circles that are 1 inch larger than your squash. Place puff pastry over filled squash and gently press edges along the outside. Take a small knife or the tip of a big knife and make 3 slits in the top of puff pastry to allow steam to escape. Return stuffed squash to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes more until puff pastry is golden brown. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Be warned: the inside will be molten hot.


  1. oh my goodness, I just realized that YOU BAKE IT IN THE SQUASH. even more genius!!

  2. this really is very extremely amazingly clever!