I mentioned before that millions of Lebanese have immigrated to Brazil; this dish is a specialty of Bahia and reminds me of a childhood friend, Fabienne, who went to Brazil on vacation and decided to settle in Bahia instead of coming back. My daughter came back from college one day ( the American University in Beirut) and told me one of her professors had posted a photo of this dish. One look at it and I had to make it.
This dish is easy to prepare: clean out the pumpkin and bake it and figure on less than 30 minutes to cook the shrimps and sauce. This dish can be prepared ahead of time and reheated for about 15 minutes right before serving.
I served it with whole-wheat spaghettis, but any pasta would work or rice.
INGREDIENTS: 4 servings
1 Pumpkin weight about 3 pounds
1 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimp (can be less), peeled and cleaned (frozen is fine)
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic (more or less to taste)
1 can of tomatoes or tomato purée (12 oz)
3 oz of cream cheese
1 1/2 cup of whipping cream
oil to fry the onions
Spices: salt, to taste. 1/2 tsp of black pepper; 1/2 tsp of coriander; 1 tsp of cumin; dash of thyme or oregano (the spices are my personal choice)
- Cut a cap off the pumpkin and clean out the inside. Keep the seeds if you like, and scrape the inside as much as possible; cover the pumpkin in foil and bake it for 40 minutes or until it is rather soft.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion, mash the garlic and heat a little oil in a large skillet. Fry the onion till golden and add the mashed garlic; add the tomatoes or purée and the cream; add the shrimps and spices and cook the shrimps in the cream for 5 minutes or till done (shrimps cook fast). Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and slather the inside with cream cheese; Pour the sauce in the pumpkin and serve.
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