Carbonada in a Pumpkin


Seven Fires, Grilling the Argentine Way is an enticing collection of recipes from the famous South American chef Francis Mallmann. I chose to make this stew from the book, as I had dozens of delicious moschato-type pumpkins that had voluntarily appeared in my garden.

This dish did not bowl me over upon first tasting - it was good, but it lacked the wow-factor. However, on day 2 it was sensational, so I have adapted the recipe to be made over one long day or two, so you can enjoy it at its best.
For the stew:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 bay leaves
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 pound tender stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup dry red wine
1 large red potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2/3 cup of chopped tomatoes with their juice (fresh or canned)
1 2/3 cup beef stock
1 ear of corn, husked and cut into 6 pieces
2 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered

Cooking the pumpkin:
1 medium pumpkin, approximately 4 pounds
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, smashed
6 black peppercorns
1/2 cup of beef broth

Garnish (optional):
2 tablespoons chopped green onions or parlsey
1 In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, 2 bay leaves, and rosemary and cook until the pancetta becomes translucent and renders it fat.

2 Raise heat to high and add beef and 4 garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then sauté until browned on all sides. Add the red wine vinegar and boil until liquid evaporates.

3 Add onions, sugar and carrots, then pour in the red wine, bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, until the alcohol has cooked off.

4 Add potato, sweet potato, tomatoes and beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Add corn and peaches, cover pan and simmer until meat and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves and rosemary and season to taste.

5 Let cool, then refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

6 3 hours before serving, remove the stew from the refrigerator and prepare the pumpkin: Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice off the top and remove seeds from cavity, creating a large bowl. Sprinkle interior with salt and stand the bottom in a roasting pan.

7 Place the 2 bay leaves, thyme sprigs, 2 garlic cloves and the peppercorns in the pumpkin, then pour in the 1/2 cup beef broth. Cover with pumpkin top and place in oven.

8 Roast for approximately one hour, until pumpkin is tender (test with skewer or fork through the side). Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit.

9 Meanwhile, slowly heat the stew until bubbling.

10 Empty out the pumpkin and set in upright in a deep platter (juices may leak, so you need a dish with sides). Spoon the stew into the pumpkin, sprinkle with garnish if desired, then place top on pumpkin and bring to the table. Spoon into soup bowls, scooping a bit of the pumpkin flesh into each serving.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 4 servings
Notes A nice rustic bread and an Argentinian wine, such as LaMadrid Bonarda or Norton Malbec Reserva, are the perfect accompaniments.

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