Mexicali Beef Stew in Pumpkin Shell

★★★★★ 1 Review
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By Nicole Bredeweg
from West Olive, MI

I used to love this recipe. I found it on one of those little cards that the grocery store keeps in racks in the entryway. But, my tastes have changed and matured, so it's NOT a favorite anymore, but it has tremendous nostalgia value AND the pumpkin shell idea is priceless. Once, we took this to our friend's house for dinner (the pumpkin makes travel INCREDIBLY easy), and the kids were amazed that we'd get to eat out of a pumpkin. And, something to note for other recipes -- if done properly, the pumpkin will insulate the food for HOURS.

serves 8
prep time 10 Min
cook time 2 Hr
method Stove Top


  • 2 1/2 lb
    beef for stew
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp
    vegetable oil
  • 2 lg
    onions, chopped
  • 4 clove
    garlic, crushed
  • 4 c
    beef stock
  • 1 c
    mild or medium salsa or picante sauce
  • 2 md
    zucchini cut into 1/4" slices
  • 4 tsp
    cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 sm
    tomatoes, chopped into bite-size bits
  • 2 1/4 oz
    can sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1
    pumpkin, 5 - 6 pounds

How To Make

  • 1
    In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef, onions, and garlic; brown beef evenly. Pour off drippings. Add broth and salsa. Return beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, cut top off pumpkin; scrape out fibers and seeds. Approximately 10 minutes before serving, pour boiling water into pumpkin; cover and let stand. Drain before serving.
  • 3
    Add zucchini to Dutch oven; continue cooking, covered, 10 minutes or until beef is tender.
  • 4
    Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir in cornstarch mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in tomatoes and olives. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Ladle into Pumpkin Shell.
  • 5
    ***Note – I realize that the pumpkin seems like a fanciful touch, but it will keep the stew hot for hours!