Potimarron, or Red kuri squash, is a hard-shelled winter squash variety with a firm orange flesh. It belongs to the Cucurbita maxim group. The flesh provides a very delicate and mellow chestnut-like flavor (marron means chestnut in French).
Like all the Cucurbita family and squash varieties, potimarrons come from America. They were introduced to the ancient world after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492. How it was introduced to Japan is not really clear – either by Portuguese sailors in 1540, or the Japanese created it from a Chinese type of squash. This variety has existed in the Far East for centuries, and was brought to France not so long ago.
Red kuri squash is commonly called Japanese Squash, Orange Hokkaido Squash, or the Uchiki Kuri Squash. In France it is called Potimarron, and in the United Kingdom it is commonly called Onion Squash.
Red kuri squash is a good source of fiber. It also provides vitamin A and C, some of the B vitamins, calcium, potassium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine. Low in calories and sodium, this deep-colored squash also contains beta-carotene.
Now let’s see how to prepare our Potimarron soup!
Serving: 8 people
Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 20 min
1 potimarron or Red kuri squash
1 garlic clove
1 big tomato
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 cups (2 L) of water
2 chicken stock cubes
1 herbs stock cube
Fresh Mozzarella cheese
Use a pressure cooker if you have one. A normal pan can be used as well but the cooking time will be longer.
1- Pour the olive oil in the pan on high heat. Peel and cut the onion in 8 pieces. Peel the garlic clove and cut it lengthwise in two to remove the stem. Cut it into big pieces and throw them with the onions in the pan. Stir a little bit. Don’t color the onions.
2- Wash the leeks and cut them into large slices (1.5 cm or 1/2 of inch). Add them in the pan and stir. You can use a little bit of the green part.
3- Peel the carrots and cut them into large slices as well. Throw them in the pan and stir.
4- Cut the Potimarron in two. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. You can peel the squash or leave the skin; both ways are acceptable. The skin is not very hard and it will soften when cooked. Cut the Potimarron into small cubes of 2.5cm or a square inch. Add them to the vegetables in the pan and stir for a minute.
5- Peel the tomato and remove the seeds. Cut it into pieces and add them into the pan.
6- Add the water and the stock cubes. Cover with the lid and leave it until the pressure cooker whistles. If you are using a normal pan, it will take 30 min or until the vegetables are soft. If the water is evaporating, add water during the cooking.
7- Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool down. Remove the lid and use a hand blender to mix the soup. You can also use a food processor or a blender.
8- There are 2 ways to serve the soup. You can just mix the vegetables and serve with the pulp. Or you can pass the soup into a colander to obtain a very creamy mixture. The taste doesn’t really change but the aspect and texture are a bit different.
9- Cut the mozzarella into small pieces and put 1 tbsp. in the middle of the dish. Pour the soup around to keep the cheese in the middle and finish with pouring on the cheese. That way it melts with the heat of the liquid.
10- Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro on top of the cheese, in the middle of the plate. Depending on your taste, 1tsp for the décor or 1 tbsp for the taste.
As you see, it’s very easy and you can’t go wrong.