Zoller Pumpkin Stew

A delightful dish from South America, Zoller Pumpkin Stew looks fabulous and tastes even better. Serve with salted pop- corn, a mixed salad and a bottle of red wine.

1 very large pumpkin

6 oz. butter

8 oz. sugar

1 lb. salt pork, cut into

1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 lb. chuck steak, cut into

1-inch cubes 1×3 lb. chicken, cleaned and chopped into 2-inch pieces 2 onions, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 green chilli, finely chopped 16 oz. canned peeled tomatoes 10 fl. oz. beef stock 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- inch cubes 4 corn on the cobs, cut into 1-inch lengths 4 large courgettes , trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths 8 spring onions , trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths 1 large green pepper, white pith removed, seeded and cut into

1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 12- teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

8 oz. frozen prawns or shrimps, thawed and drained

8 unpeeled fresh prawns or shrimps

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Using a sharp knife, cut a slice approximately 1-inch thick from the side of the pumpkin to form a lid. Using a spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds and pulp from the lid and shell of the pumpkin.

Grease the inside of the pumpkin with 4 ounces of the butter. Sprinkle 2 ounces of the sugar into the pumpkin, shaking out any excess. Cover with the lid. Place the pumpkin on a large flat baking sheet and place in the centre of the oven. Bake the pumpkin for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is just tender.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-based saucepan, fry the salt pork over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the pork is golden brown all over and has rendered most of its fat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a large plate and set aside. Pour the oil into the saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the remaining sugar and reduce the heat to low. Melt the sugar, stirring constantly. When the oil and sugar mixture is golden brown, add the beef and chicken pieces and fry, turning frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the beef and chicken pieces are golden brown all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef and chicken to the same plate as the pork. Set aside.

Add the remaining butter to the pan. When the foam subsides, add the onions, garlic and chilli and fry, stirring occa- sionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes with the can juice and the beef stock to the pan. Return the pork, beef and chicken to the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring the contents of the pan to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 40 minutes. Uncover and add the sweet potatoes, corn, courgettes , spring onions , green pepper, thyme, salt, pepper and prawns or shrimps. Cover the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven, remove the lid and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the stew into the pumpkin. Cover the pumpkin with the lid and return it to the centre of the oven. Bake for a further 10 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the pumpkin to a serving platter. Remove the lid and garnish with the unpccled prawns or shrimps. Serve immediately.

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