Carbonada en Zapallo

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless veal for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Garlic Oil (see recipe below) or pure olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped small
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry Madeira
  • 1 pound red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes or boniato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 zucchini, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1-inch thick strips, and halved
  • 2 large pears or apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • Two 5- to 6-pound pumpkins (you can substitute winter squash, such as Hubbard, kabocha, butternut, or acorn; if using smaller squash, use 4, 1/2 per serving, and adjust the cooking time accordingly)
  • 2 ears corn, husked and cut into 1-inch rounds

Beef Stock

  • 4 1/2 pounds beef neckbones
  • 4 1/2 pounds veal bones
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 large stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 heads garlic, cut horizontally in half
  • 6 to 8 quarts water, or enough to cover
  • 3 bay leaves, broken in half
  • 20 sprigs thyme
  • 20 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, toasted (see recipe below)

In a small bowl, season the flour with salt and pepper. Toss the veal in it, then put the meat into a colander and shake off the excess. Transfer to a plate.

Heat 1/4 cup of the garlic oil in a heavy skillet over high heat and sauté the veal, in batches if necessary, until nicely browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the veal to a bowl. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze it, scraping with a wooden spoon to release the browned bits of veal from the bottom. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then set aside.

In a large heavy ovenproof pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil and the 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the Scotch Bonnet and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the onion, fennel, and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, and cook until somewhat soft.

Add the tomato and tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the Madeira to deglaze the pot, then add the veal and the reserved chicken broth. Stir well. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and zucchini and bring to a low simmer, then reduce the heat. Cover the stew with a round of parchment paper with a slit cut in the center, and cook for one hour and 15 minutes. It is very important to keep the stew at a low simmer; look for slow, steady bubbles. (Covering the pot with the parchment paper rather than a tight lid makes it less likely to burn.) The simmered veal should be almost fork-tender. Taste for seasoning. 

Add the pears and peaches, cover again with parchment paper, and cook for about 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Cover the pot and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, clean the outside of the pumpkins. Cut them in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers from each. Slice a very thin slice off the bottom of each so they will not wobble when you pour the soup into them. Lightly butter, salt, and pepper their insides.

Place them on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Smaller squash can be cooked upside down, but not bigger squash-they might cave in!) Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Blanch the corn rounds for 1 minute. Drain and keep warm.

Set the pot of stew over very low heat and slowly heat until hot, stirring from time to time.

Taste the stew and season, if needed, with salt and pepper. Transfer it to the cooked pumpkins. Top with the corn rounds. Carefully bring the filled pumpkins to the table, preparing yourself for the appreciative gasps of your guests, and serve.

Serves 8 to 10

Roasted Garlic Oil

  • 3 large heads garlic, cut horizontally in half
  • 3 cups pure olive oil
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, toasted (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Put the garlic heads cut side down in a small casserole or ovenproof pot and pour the olive oil over them. Add the thyme and pepper. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the garlic is soft enough to mash.

Remove the garlic from the oil and set aside.

Strain the oil into a bowl and let cool, then pour into an airtight container. The oil will keep for at least a month.

Makes 2 2/3 cups 

Chicken Stock

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 large stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 6 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves, broken in half
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, toasted (see recipe below)
  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken bones, wings, backs, and/or necks
  • 10 to 12 cups water, or enough to cover

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the white wine and stir, then add the herbs, peppercorns, chicken bones, and water and bring just to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, skim off any impurities that have risen to the surface (don’t stir, or the stock will be cloudy), and simmer, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours.

Strain the stock first through a colander, then through a fine-mesh strainer (or cheesecloth-lined colander) into a stainless steel bowl or container. Chill the stock in an ice-water bath. (This not only kills harmful bacteria, it prevents you from having to put steaming-hot stock into your refrigerator – and inadvertently heating it and its contents.) Then refrigerate until chilled, or, preferably, overnight.

Skim any fat from the top of the stock, and transfer to airtight containers. The stock will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

Makes 7 cups

Toasted Black Peppercorns

Gently warm the peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat. Once they become aromatic, they are toasted.