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Carbonada Criolla

11 September 2006
Carbonada Criolla

Ingredients (Serves six to eight)

1 large (3.5kg) calabaza (Caribbean squash)
55ml flour
1tbsp Hungarian paprika
1tbsp ground white pepper
1tbs salt
1tbs dried oregano
1.4kg boneless beef shortribs, cut into 2.5cm-wide strips
55ml balsamic vinegar
1 white onion
5 cloves garlic
3 stalks celery, diced
3.8 litres beef stock
2 bay leaves
1tsp ground cumin
2 ears sweet corn, shucked and cut into 1.5in-thick pinwheels
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds

Method

Clean the outside of the calabaza. With a sharp knife cut a 14cm-diameter circle around the stem and life off the "lid". Scoop out the seed and flesh, being careful to leave about 1cm of flesh all around the inside. Cut scooped flesh into 1.3cm pieces.

Combine the flour, paprika, chilla powder, white pepper, salt and oregano. Add the shortribs and coat evenly.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the inside of the calabaza and the underside of the lid with 2tbs of the oil. Put both, flesh side up, in a deep roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes. Cool.

In another mixing bowl, gloss the peach slices with balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

Heat the remaing 2tbs of oil in a stockpot over a high heat. Add the shortribs and brown well on all side, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and celery, an cook for five more minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves, and cumin and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 1½ hours.

Uncover the stockpot and add sweet corn and carrots. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup back to a full boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the calabaza and peaches. Stir and cook for 10 more minutes.

Carefully ladle the soup in the calabaza shell. Cook with lid on in the oven for 10 minutes.

At the table, remove the calabaza lid, then ladle the hot soup into bowls and serve.

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