If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the Legendary Hero sure loves his soups. I was looking back and this is actually the fourth soup from the Legend of Zelda series that I’ve done so far and I haven’t even done the Elixer Soup from Wind Waker yet! Be that as it may, I think that this soup has been my favorite so far. I knew as soon as I came across the Tough Meat Stuffed Pumpkin in Breath of the Wild that I would be making it for myself IRL before long.
Kakariko Village, an iconic Legend of Zelda locale and one of the first towns you travel to in Breath of the Wild, is famous for two vegetables: Tough Pumpkins and Swift Carrots. As you can imagine there is actually a bit of a rivalry between the growers of these two crops, Olkin and Steen. These two constantly proselytise to Link about the importance of a good defense versus that of speed and offense. This is actually a clever in-game hint about the status boosts granted by their respective vegetables as Swift Carrots improve your speed, while Tough Pumpkins improve defense. In fact, their mutual animosity is so great that Steen’s Wife won’t even sell Tough Pumpkins at the town’s produce shop!
Grants a low-level defense boost. This hollow, meat-filled fortified pumpkin is a local specialty in Kakariko Village.
– item description
Ironically, the one thing I took the most creative freedom with on this recipe WAS the pumpkin itself. Pumpkins, as most people in western world know them, are bright orange and often used for pies and jack-o-lanterns in the Fall. Unfortunately for me, I developed this recipe in the springtime when those guys aren’t necessarily available. In light of this predicament I decided to go with the next best thing to pumpkin, Kabocha! Also known as kabocha squash, this vegetable is grown all year round, but is technically at it’s best in late summer. They sell these squashes in local grocery stores around here so even though it’s a Japanese staple, there’s no need for a trip to the Asian Market to get some.
It’s notable that most kabocha you’ll find will be deep green in color, but they tend to get brighter and more orange as they mature after harvest. As they mature, their starchiness will actually convert to sweetness and they’ll begin to taste pretty close to orange pumpkins anyway. I guess I’m not too far off the mark! haha. Pumpkin politics aside, this recipe is really straightforward and delicious. In fact if you consider yourself a beginner in the kitchen, I think this is a great recipe to start with. That’s not to say it’s not a fun one for any culinary veterans out there as well, mind you. So give this Kakariko Village specialty a shot and be sure to comment down below if you do and let me know what you think!
+ Beef and Kabocha Soup +
|Beef Chuck||1¼ lbs.|
|Curry Powder||1 tsp.|
|Black Pepper||¼ tsp.|
|Garlic Powder||¼ tsp.|
|Chili Powder||¼ tsp.|
|Olive Oil||2 Tbsp.|
|Fresh Ginger||2 tsp.|
|Beef Stock||1 qt|
|Curry Powder||1 tsp.|
|AP Flour||1 Tbsp.|
|Apple Cider Vinegar||2 tsp.|
|Frozen Sweet Peas||¾ cup|
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Large cook pot with lid
- Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- Serrated knife
- Medium saute pan (for the roux)
1) The first step to a good stew is to brown your meat. This caramelizes the beef and produces a whole bunch of yummy flavors that we can infuse into the stew later. Using a sharp knife, cut the beef chuck into cubes about 1″ on all sides. This may seem large, but these chunks will certainly shrink a bit throughout the cooking process. Combine the spices (curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder) in a bowl and toss the meat in until it’s fully coated.
2) In a large cooking pot heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the meat just before the oil starts to smoke to achieve that really nice sear (be careful not to splatter the oil up at yourself though!) Stir the meat until browned on all sides (about 3 minutes) then turn off the heat and carefully transfer the beef to a small plate or baking pan to rest. Also, keep the pot handy as we’ll be cooking in it again pretty soon, no sense washing out all that delicious flavor!
3) Now that we’ve started the meat, we can move on to the pumpkin portion of the recipe, or more specifically, the Kabocha portion. Carefully, and with a serrated knife, mark a line about ¾ of the way up the side of the Kabocha all the way around. This mark is where we’ll be separating the “lid” from the “bowl” of the squash so make sure you have enough room on either side and adjust the measurement if necessary. Turn the Kabocha up on it’s side so the line is vertical and use a sawing motion with the knife to cut along it. It helps to rotate the squash every once in a while during this process, especially if the serrated knife you’re using isn’t particularly large. Once you’ve removed the “lid,” congratulations! The “tough” part is over!
4) Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds and stringy bits from the center of the Kabocha. If you’d like, you can use a knife to clean up the cut edges on the bottom portion. At this point you can choose to discard the scooped insides or clean up the seeds and toast them. I’ve included a little procedure down below if you’re interested in trying it out. Otherwise, move right on to the next step!
5) Time to prep the veggies! First, dice up the Kabocha “lid” into ½” cubes. The squash’s skin is perfectly fine to eat, but it’s a little bitter in my opinion. Feel free to trim off the skin if you’d prefer. Next, you’ll want to dice up the onion, carrot, and celery. For a detailed walkthrough on cutting these veggies, check out my Good Soup recipe from Twilight Princess. Finally, the last thing on the prep list is to mince the garlic and fresh ginger. Personally when peeling fresh ginger I feel it’s much more effective to use the back of a spoon than a traditional vegetable peeler.
6) Using the same pot we cooked the meat in, add to it the kabocha, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger. Place the pot over medium heat and and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the veggies as they cook. After about 5 minutes they should be nice and tender at which point we can add back in the browned meat from earlier as well as the beef stock and curry powder. Bring the stew to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover with the pot lid and let simmer for 20 minutes.
7) The stew will still be a little loose at this point so we’ll be thickening it up with a roux. Place 1 Tbsp. of butter into a medium sized saute pan and heat on low until fully melted. Add to this 1 Tbsp. of flour and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Let this mixture bubble and cook for about 20 seconds and then remove it from the heat. Using a large spoon or a ladle, carefully add a few scoops of the stew to the pan and stir to incorporate. You’ll notice it thicken up right away at which point we can add this portion back into the large cook pot. Stir the pot over medium heat until it’s evenly combined with the roux and noticeably thicker.
8) We’re almost there! Just remove the pot from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar and frozen peas. In order to get the full Breath of the Wild experience pour the contents into the kabocha bottom and garnish with the roasted seeds if you’d like. Now go enjoy that defense boost!
+ Roasted Kabocha Seeds +
|Kabocha Seeds||from above recipe (about 1 cup)|
- Small bowl
- Small sauce pot
- Baking sheet and pan spray
1) These seeds are slimy! We’ll need to spend some time cleaning them off first before we can toast them. Place the kabocha insides in a large colander set in the sink and run some cool water over top. Use your fingers to remove as much of the strings and squash goo as you can and then dump them into a clean bowl filled with water. Lucky for us, the seeds float in water so we can easily pick them out.
2) Combine the salt and water in a small sauce pot over medium high heat. Add the cleaned seeds to the pot and bring to a simmer. This method helps the seeds infuse with the salt instead of having to coat them in it later. We’ll have to dry them out and bake them afterwards, so go ahead and preheat your oven to 400°F. After 10 minutes of simmering you can remove the seeds from the heat and drain them through the colander over your sink. All that’s left is to spray your baking sheet and pour the kabocha seeds out on to it in an even layer. Bake the seeds for 15 minutes or until golden brown and delicious.
Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as stuff from my Twitch streams. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you soon with an all-new recipe!