23 November 2011

La courge « patidou »

What's more beautiful than a beautiful vegetable? And what vegetable is more beautiful than a winter squash?

In French, what in America we call a "winter squash" is called
« une courge ». The one in these pictures is called « une patidou ». It's a variety of Cucurbita pepo, as are the zucchini (courgette), pattypan (pâtisson), spaghetti squash (courge spaghetti), acorn squash (courge poivrée or courgeron), and many others.

La courge patidou

It was an acorn squash that I was looking for when I went shopping at SuperU last week. I didn't find one — Walt wanted to get one so we could eat it but also so we could save the seeds and grow some courgerons in next year's garden — but I noticed the patidou in a bin along with many little pumpkins (potimarrons and citrouilles), courges spaghetti, and courges butternut.

The patidou looked to be the closest thing to an acorn squash that I was going to find. It was prettier than an acorn squash. When I went through the checkout line, the cashier had no idea what it was and it wasn't labeled. I was able to explain and she finally found it on her computer. At first she thought I was saying pâtisson.

The patidou turned out to be delicious roasted and mashed with some butter and spices including nutmeg and Caribbean colombo powder, which is a kind of curry powder. The flesh has a distinct flavor of chestnuts and isn't as sweet as some other squashes (at least this one wasn't).

Here's a French-language site with a lot of recipes for cooking patidou squashes. Okay, fine, you say. But what I want to know is what the patidou is called in North America or the British Isles.

A patidou squash cut in half, seeds scooped out,
ready to be roasted in the oven

On one blog I saw the patidou called "sweet dumpling" squash, but I don't know that term. And in fact, some of the sites I find that mention the patidou show pictures of squashes that don't really look like this one. It's a mystery.


  1. I had wondered that myself a few weeks ago when I bought one (soooo yummy!!) its called a "carnival sqaush" in English :-)

  2. Hello Milkjam, "carnival squash" is certainly a name that fits.

  3. "Graines Bocquet" have Sweet Dumpling / Patidou in their on-line seed catalogue. I've seen Patidou in Leclerc, and they weren't Sweet Dumpling as I know it, or as Bocquet has it. The Sweet Dumpling squash I grew back in the UK had a dimple on both ends so they looked like little fat ridged wheels. The supermarket ones were pointed, like an Acorn squash, and multicoloured. Sweet Dumpling are cream coloured with dark green splashes - very pretty and they certainly are tasty. I think the patidou you bought may be a modern hybrid. Or maybe the name covers a whole range of different varieties!

  4. It is gorgeous. Mitch and I had an acorn squash last night. Yum!

    Sending Thanksgiving wishes to you and Walt. I know it isn't the same in France, but it's still a nice holiday to think of friends and family far and near. I'm grateful you're in my life.


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