Last week, a co-worker brought in a
great little dish of rice and ground beef in a pumpkin. I didn’t
get the recipe, but it did remind me of a little experiment I tried
last year: Stew in a pumpkin.
I had an extra pumpkin from the in-laws and went online looking
for recipes when I ran across an Argentine
Stew in a Pumpkin Shell on Cooks.com.
It was good, but a little too sweet for my taste. So when I saw
a dish-in-a-pumpkin again this year, I determined to experiment a
little with the recipe, knowing full well that I’d have to eat or
manage to pawn off a whole pumpkin’s worth of stew if I messed it
That’s the down-side of food experimentation, but even when I
fail, I end up learning more about how different ingredients affect
what I”m cooking so that someday … someday, I’ll be able to just
whip up something delicious off the top of my head.
Not quite there yet, but my experiments are getting better and
better. Here’s how the stew-in-a-pumpkin came out: Last year’s stew
ended up being too sweet for my taste, so I cut down on the amount
of sweet potato, added a mix of white and red potatoes, and
quartered the apricots. I also threw in a little savory cumin and
coriander and chiles to play up on the Southern Americas flavors I
wanted something from Argentina to have (which, I realize, is not a
realistic expectation since Argentine cooking tends to have a lot
of Italian influence and there really is no one cooking style for
South American or Latin American countries). And since I happened
to have a glass of Syrah in-hand (what a surprise!) I tossed in a
splash of that too. Recipe and notes follow.
Argentine Stew in Pumpkin
adapted from a Cooks.com recipe
2 lb. beef stew meat, cut in 1 1/2″ cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
3 tbsp. oil
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. dried apricots, quartered
4 red (or white) potatoes, peeled & diced
1 sweet potato, peeled & diced
2 red chiles, cut in half
2 cups beef broth
1 medium pumpkin
1/2 cup red wine, optional
2 cups frozen corn
Heat oil over med-high heat in pot and brown beef. Set aside
briefly. Saute onion, garlic and spices until onion is translucent.
Return been to pot. Add tomatoes, red pepper, pepper, salt,
apricts, potatoes and broth. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Scoop seeds and membrane out of pumpkin. Brush melted butter on
the inside and season with salt and pepper.
Stir wine and corn into stew and ladel it into the pumpkin
shell. Place pumpkin in a shallow pan and bake at 350-degrees for 1
hour, or until pumpkin is tender. Place pumpkin in a bowl in case
it has any holes. Scoop out pumpkin as you ladel it into bowls.
It still was sweet, as it was supposed to be, but I liked that
the changes I made cut down on it, and that I didn’t get unexpected
globs of apricot. Quartering them, however, made them melt, so
halving them next time would probably be better. Also, I used up a
yellow pepper in my original, but a red would give you similar
results and look a whole lot better.
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