Pork & Kabocha Squash
This traditional Hmong dish is simple and packed with early fall flavors!
1/2 bunch pumpkin vine, chopped
1 medium kabocha squash, halved, cleaned, cubed
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 stalk lemongrass heart, pounded, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 pound Asian smoked pork, bacon or ham hock, cut into bite sized pieces
Wash the pumpkin vine. If the vine is thick, remove the thick veins from the interior. If the vine is primarily leaves and thin stems, skip this step.
Chop into bite sized pieces and set aside. Lightly peel the kabocha by removing the barnacle-like bumps and remove its innards. The skin itself cooks and eats like the flesh. Then cut it into bite sized pieces and set aside. Cube the pork, and if it has bones, reserve them.
Put the water, salt, lemongrass, and bones, if you have them from the ham or pork, into a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the pork and simmer 10-15 Minutes, until almost cooked, but still pink in the middle. Add the kabocha and vines and cook until the squash is tender but not mushy, about 10 Minutes.