Denise Browning serves up a hearty Brazilian pumpkin shell chicken stew. A delicious and fun winter dish.
By Denise Browning
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablepoons of vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 pounds (700 g) roasted chicken, skinned and shredded
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree scooped out from the roasted pumpkin lid
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 4 oz (about ½ cup) cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese for the topping (Mozzarella or other semi-soft of your choice. I used Fiesta Blend in mine)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Trace a guide line around the top of the pumpkin using a pumpkin carving tool or a paring knife. Then, following your guide line, use a sharp knife to cut off the top or lid.
- Scoop out all the seeds from both the pumpkin and the lid.
- Season the inside of both the pumpkin shell and the lid with salt and pepper, and brush the rim of the pumpkin shell and the inner part of the lid with melted butter. Use the remaining melted butter to drizzle the inside of the pumpkin shell. Place the pumpkin shell on one baking sheet, and on the other sheet place the upside-down pumpkin lid. Top each with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Bake each individually. First bake the pumpkin shell for about 30 minutes or until it is soft when poked with a knife. Then, bake the pumpkin lid for about 20 minutes. Remove the covering of parchment paper from the top of each, and let cool on a rack. Once warm, scoop out the roasted pumpkin pulp from the lid and, if necessary, from the pumpkin shell– just enough to obtain ¾ cup of pulp. Be careful to not slit open the pumpkin shell: you want to preserve the pumpkin shell where the chicken stew will be served. Reserve the pulp.
- In a large dutch pan, heat the oil over medium heat and sweat the chopped onion for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the shredded chicken, and sautée for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and let evaporate. Stir in the tomato paste and then the stock, salt, and pepper. In a blender, blend the reserved roasted pumpkin puree with the coconut milk and add to the chicken stew. Bring to a boil; then decrease the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and let simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
- Mix the softened cream cheese into the chicken stew and let cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped parsley or cilantro. Pour chicken stew into the pumpkin shell that has been resting on the baking sheet, and top stew with the shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and begun to brown a bit.
- Serve chicken stew with white rice. Enjoy!
Denise Browning is a native Brazilian foodie, trained Chef, cooking instructor, restaurant menu/recipe developer, and former lawyer. She is also the author of From Brazil To You - a blog that features Brazilian, fusion, and international dish recipes, stories, and photography of Brazil. Her writing has appeared in Cia Brasil Magazine, while her photography is frequently featured on Foodgawker, TasteSpotting, and Foodepix. She lives in Texas with her American husband and two children.