French Pumpkins: Potimarron

While in France last week I thoroughly enjoyed prowling the morning market, its stretch of tables brilliant with fruit, vegetables, and delicious local specialties. Here's the local variety of pumpkin - a small gourd with rich orange flesh. It's a wonderful pumpkin, and I discovered it actually has a few other names.

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These pumpkins are smaller than the giant Halloween pumpkins here in the States, but slightly larger than the petite pie pumpkins we usually buy. They are richly orange - much darker in color inside than the yellow pumpkins here.

We loved the flavor of this pumpkin so much. It was very dense and not very watery or stringy - smooth and silky too. It had a slight bitterness like chestnuts and a velvety texture when baked.

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You often see large slices sold in the market, wrapped up with a sheaf of flat parsley. These two flavors complement each other well.

I would love to get my hands on pumpkins like these here; their brilliant color and wonderful texture make them a treat. I did a little research and I did discover through Chocolate & Zucchini that while these are not so common here, they are indeed available. In the United States they are usually called Red Kuri or Hokkaido squash.

You can buy the seeds here:
Potimarron at Rare Seeds

Have you ever cooked with this kind of squash? I highly recommend it; the flavor is really outstanding.

Related: A Bread-and-Cheese-Filled Pumpkin from Dorie Greenspan

(Image: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.