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My Ultimate Shrimp in a Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga)

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If you have been following my website for the past couple of years you may have noticed that this is the third recipe of Shrimp in a Pumpkin that I post. The reason for these many versions is that I keep making improvements to the same traditional Brazilian recipe and the results keep getting better and better… So this one is my ultimate!

If you compare this version to the other ones I have posted, you will notice that this recipe is simpler. It has less ingredients, but the flavors are bolder! I added hot peppers – which I found out to be very complementing of the sweetness of the pumpkin – and the true Brazilian cream cheese, called Catupiry (which we can buy on Amazon!! Yessssss!!!!).

Shrimp in a Pumpkin – or Camarão na Moranga, in Portuguese – is a traditional Brazilian recipe that can add a pretty cool twist to your dinner table this fall! When serving this goodness to your family and friends, make sure you scoop the pumpkin and the sauce together; then serve with simple jasmine rice. Offer Farofa as a side as well, if you want to make this meal even a bit more Brazilian!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium pumpkin (Sugar Pie Pumpkin or Cinderella work best)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails-off
  • ¼ cup Cognac (Brandy or Bourbon also work great)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cherry peppers (or other variety of hot pepper, such as habanero, chili or jalapeno), minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Catupiry (if unavailable use cream cheese or mascarpone)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the top of the pumpkin and remove all seeds. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place on a large shallow ovenproof pan, cut-off side down. Bake it until nearly soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap from foil. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat until it starts shimmering. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Sauté shrimp in the hot oil until it turns pink and starts to curl, 1 minute. Add Cognac and cook another 30 seconds (most likely it will flame, so be careful). Remove from heat and transfer shrimp and its liquids to a plate.

To the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 minutes. Add hot pepper and garlic and cook an additional minute. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft and a thick sauce has formed; 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in shimp, cilantro and scallions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a large spoon, spread the Catupiry into the pumpkin. Pour shrimp sauce into pumpkin and return to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese melts and pumpkin is soft and heated through. Remove from oven and serve immediately, with jasmine rice on the side.

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This is a picture of the best cream cheese in the world: Catupiry!

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