Magazine article The Spectator

Food: Brazilian Pumpkin and Kisses

Magazine article The Spectator

Food: Brazilian Pumpkin and Kisses

Article excerpt

WHAT a year it has been! I have finally come home from my travels and book signings, and I hope you all have a very fine Christmas. At last I have the wonderful Brazilian pumpkin receipt I promised you from the embassy and, as the Brazilian President will be here, this is a good time for it. Although it is meant to be done with beef, I'm sure it would do splendidly for using up after-Christmas meats and would be a very festive-looking supper dish for Boxing Day.

Picadinho com abobora Chopped beef in baked pumpkin

1 4-5 lb pumpkin

salt and pepper to taste

a few gratings of mace

8 fl oz good chicken stock

1 fl oz cachaca or dry white rum

vegetable oil

2 lbs sirloin or topside

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar good pinch of cinnamon and ground cloves

6 fl oz olive oil

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribs removed and diced

1 red bell pepper - the same

2 medium onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 8 fl oz beef stock

1 small hot chilli pepper, seeded, ribbed and diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

10 green olives, stoned and chopped

2 tablespoons large capers, washed, drained and dried Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 375F, 190C. Cut a circle about 3 inches from the stem of the pumpkin to form a lid. Scoop out the seeds from the pumpkin and clean away the fibres. Lightly salt and pepper the inside and add a pinch or two of mace. Add the chicken stock and cachaca or rum. Replace the lid to fit, rub the outside of the pumpkin with vegetable oil, and place on a welloiled baking pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the interior flesh is tender and the exterior is still firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Slide a large spatula under the pumpkin and carefully transfer to a warm serving platter. Remove the lid, and extract the liquid from the pumpkin with a bulb baster. Replace the lid, cover the pumpkin with foil and keep warm until ready to fill with the picadinho.

Meanwhile, as the pumpkin has been cooking, slice the meat, trimmed of all fat, into 1/4-inch slices. Put the slices in a flat pan, cover with cling-film and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then cut the slices into small dice, place in a large bowl and toss with the vinegar, cinnamon and cloves. Marinate for 20 minutes. In a large frying pan heat 2 fl oz of the olive oil over a medium heat; when it begins to smoke add the diced meat and brown quickly, stirring the while. …

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