This is a beautiful holiday dish from Argentina, often served at Christmas. It makes an excellent Thanksgiving centerpiece dish, and it's perfect for Halloween night. Leave out the beef and it becomes an great vegetarian main course.
It's simple to prepare: the beef stew cooks on the stove, while the pumpkin roasts in the oven. Then the stew is placed into the pumpkin and baked for a half hour more. The roasted pumpkin imparts a uniquely delicious flavor, as do the sweet potatoes, corn, and dried apricots. Serve this stew with rice or egg noodles, corn bread, and a salad. Don't forget to roast the pumpkin seeds!
- 1 8-10 inch diameter pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1.5 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large winter squash, peeled and cubed
- 7 ounces dried apricots, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut a lid out of the top of the pumpkin and reserve. Clean seeds and stringy fibers from the inside of the pumpkin (reserve seeds for roasting).
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the melted butter, and sprinkle with 1 teaspon pumpkin pie seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place the lid on the pumpkin or cover opening with foil.
- Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for an hour.
- While the pumpkin is baking, prepare the stew. In a large pot, sauté the onions, green pepper, and garlic in the olive oil until golden and soft.
- Add the beef and cook on medium-high heat, turning to brown all sides.
- Add the stewed tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes, sugar, squash, and apricots, and lower heat to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer over low heat for one hour. Taste for seasoning, and season with salt and pepper. Add more beef broth if stew seems too thick. Stir in the frozen corn.
- Carefully pour stew into the pumpkin, replace top, and return to the oven for 30 minutes more.
- Serve stew from the pumpkin bowl. When you transfer the pumpkin to a platter, do so very carefully and be sure to support the bottom of the pumpkin.
- Serves 6 to 8.
Note: You can also serve this stew in individual pumpkin bowls. Choose smaller baking pumpkins, and reduce the baking time for the pumpkin to 20-30 minutes. Fill the pumpkin with stew, and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.