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in with the new

Recipe: roasted kabocha squash

The past few days have involved a lot of cleaning and precious little outside time, but we tell ourselves it is all worth it because we finally updated our refrigerator of 16 years and the crappy stove that came with the house (guessing 21 years old). I consider this a major accomplishment because we’ve had these upgrades on our list for about 10 years… we just hate shopping.

made a clear path for the delivery guys while yuki wonders what’s up

new refrigerator, new stove

The old refrigerator went into the basement to increase our cold storage capacity. The old stove was hauled away. Good riddance. But these things never go as smoothly as planned. We planed off 5 millimeters of cabinet siding to get the refrigerator to fit in its cubby and then replaced 20 feet of old copper water line which had been left unused for 13 years. And now that we have a slide-in range rather than a free-standing range, we need a backsplash. I’m going with stainless steel and it will be easily removable so I can scrub the hell out of it. It’s nice to have the kitchen back in place and working better than before! After all of that, we finally got out with the pups for some exercise and fresh air.

little yuki has a new harness because she outgrew her size small harness!

Thanksgiving is this week and I’ll have a lovely little story to share with you later, but for now I must tell you about kabocha squash. It sounds like kombucha, but it is kabocha, and it is my favorite squash. Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash, also called Japanese Pumpkin, and it has a beautiful sweetness. I love it stewed, in soup, tempura fried, and roasted. You can find it at Asian grocery stores with decent produce sections or at places like Whole Foods or farmers markets. Like many squashes, these are quite hard and a little scary to cut when raw, so do be careful as you would with any similar squash.

to roast: olive oil, salt, pepper, kabocha squash(es)

The skin on the kabocha squash is edible, which is great! Simply wash the squash before cutting. I like to remove the stem because it’s nearly impossible to cut through when splitting the kabocha in half. A careful shallow cut around the base of the stem with the tip of a paring knife (don’t twist, keep it flat) makes popping the stem off by hand a cinch. Once that’s done, carefully cut the kabocha squash in half and scoop out the guts. I then cut the halves in half to get four quarters and trim the hard corners off. From there, I like to slice my squash into 1-inch thick pieces.

scoop out the guts

cut into 1-inch thick slices

Slicing the squash is the hard part. Once that is done, toss the slices with olive oil and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Make sure the seasonings and oil are well-distributed among the squash. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet or baking pan in a single layer. This maximizes the crisp, slightly caramelized surface area of the roasted kabocha squash. Roast the first side, then after about 20 minutes, flip the pieces until the bottoms are nice and golden – about another 15 minutes.

drizzle olive oil over the kabocha

toss with salt and pepper

arrange in a single layer

roast until golden on both sides

I’m a big fan of butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potato, delicata squash… But kabocha squash is probably my favorite when you consider flavor, ease of preparation, edible skin, and a creamy texture that I just can’t get enough of. And it’s good for you! So if you are looking for something a little different for your table or simply want to try yet another most excellent squash, I highly recommend kabocha squash. It’s like candy without the added sugar or marshmallows.

so simple to prepare

and beautifully brilliant

but most of all, delicious and nutritious

Roasted Kabocha Squash
[print recipe]

3 lbs. kabocha squash (1 large squash)
1-2 tbsps olive oil
sea salt (about 1 tsp)
black pepper, freshly ground (about 1 tsp)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the outside of the squash. Carefully remove the stem. I use a paring knife to cut at a shallow angle around the base of the stem then pop the stem off with my fingers. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the squash in half longitudinally (through the stem base). The kabocha squash is hard, like its cousins, so please use caution when taking to it with a knife. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Cut the halves in half (to get quarters) and trim the stem/ends from the corners. Slice the quarters into 1-inch thick pieces. Place the slices in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I line my baking sheet with foil for ease of clean up. Roast for 20 minutes, then flip the pieces over and continue to roast until lightly browned and fork tender (about 15 minutes for me). Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

kabocha squash nimono roasted broccoli roasted cauliflower salad roasted delicata squash

9 nibbles at “in with the new”

  1. Betsy says:

    I recently read through Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden. He recommends microwaving hard squash before cutting to make it easier to cut through. For a pie pumpkin, he suggests three minutes on high, letting cool slightly, then cutting. It doesn’t really cook it, but it’s much easier to slice. I’ve used this trick twice on pumpkins, and once for two minutes on a small butternut squash, and it’s a game changer. Happy cooking!

  2. Erin Gallagher says:

    That is a brilliant idea bout the removable splashback. Can you please do a DIY post about it when you do it?

    I know the next house we will be redoing the kitchen at some point, and I just showed your comment about the removable splashback to the husband and he thought it was brilliant as well.

    I think I’m also going to do something like that behind the sink since we have such horrible hard water here that everything gets just covered in limescale to ridiculous points. Need to be able to take things down and scrub scrub scrub scrub scrub and scrub some more. (Or with the sink have it so that there is no counter between wall and sink for water to collect at)

  3. jill hyde says:

    Looks like a beautiful new set of appliances. Something I love/hate to buy. Yuki looks like a good “overseer of kitchen events!” I’m thankful for you in our lives. Hope your Thanksgiving is just what you ant it to be, and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. xo, jill

  4. angelitacarmelita says:

    I have been watching NHK (Japanese) network recently at home, and am fascinated with the programs featuring Tsukiji Market. One of the programs was all about squash and the Japanese adoration of it, in particular the Kabocha. I see them at my local Asian Grocery store, but always think It’s too big for just me. I found another recipe on your site for it, using a braising method. I think I’ll jump in and try half one way, and the other half the other way. Both look wonderful! Btw, your kitchen looks beautiful!!

  5. Marissa says:

    Jen, If you ever get the itch…. Kabocha squash lasagna made with a beautiful swiss cheese and tofu skin… yes.. I know odd.. but I had it at a restaurant 14 years ago and it is still with me. Served in large ramekins

  6. Kristin says:

    Love your appliances!! I have looked in vain for kabocha squash for years. We finally have a Whole Foods near places I go somewhat regularly, so I will go take a look. I just had a friend from Australia visiting, and she really wanted to see Whole Foods, so I took her to the one closest to me. Then we went to Miami together to visit a friend and, while he was working, we went off to have breakfast and found a Whole Foods that we checked out. And there was one across the street from our hotel. So now she is probably thoroughly sick of WF, and I am wishing more than ever that there was one a little bit closer to me!

  7. Mary Karen Euler says:

    I can’t believe you’ve been creating such glorious culinary masterpieces using a “crappy stove”…WOW! I must say that I have refrigerator envy. Question, I’m in the market for a counter-top oven. Do you like yours? If so, can you give/email me the deets? Thanks! MK

  8. Bev Delyea says:

    Two little words: pumpkin pie

  9. jenyu says:

    Betsy – That’s a great tip, thank you!

    Erin – I haven’t quite figured out how to design it, although it looks fairly straightforward. Most likely we will have my friend’s friend make the piece (a single sheet of stainless steel that has a lip at the bottom, me thinks). I just wanted something that was easy to clean and not permanently mounted on the wall ;)

    jill – Yes, the shopping is the part I can’t stand. There are so many choices and yet never the ideal piece! Hope you and the good doctor had a lovely and peaceful Thanksgiving xoxo

    angelitacarmelita – Thank you! And you’d be amazed at how long the kabocha lasts. I sometimes cook half, wrap the other half in plastic and keep it in the fridge for another 4-5 days before I am ready to use it again. Also, it is FANTASTIC tempura fried or even steamed and tossed into a bowl of ramen.

    Marissa – Well that sounds incredible!

    Kristin – I have a love/hate relationship with Whole Foods. Sometimes they carry those things that are hard to find. Sometimes they charge me double for the same damn hunk of cheese that I can find at Trader Joe’s. But they always leave me wondering what the hell I bought when the bill rings up to triple what I think it should be! Ha ha!

    MK – Oh, how does that saying go? It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. I think the same can be said about kitchens, although the nicer the kitchen, the better the sanity ;) I already emailed you about the counter-top oven, but for those here wondering, it’s the Breville Smart Compact Oven and we freaking love it :)

    Bev – Right?! I have heard from so many people that the best way to make pumpkin pie is to not use pumpkin and to use all of the other squashes instead ;)

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