Pumpkin Stew: Recipe from new edition of ‘The Gaza Kitchen’

Just World AdminBlog, Cuisine, culture, Gaza

This recipe is a new addition to the new edition of the award-winning Gaza Kitchen cookbook by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt. Learn more about The Gaza Kitchen on the Just World Books website and be sure to also check out the events calendar, as the authors will be touring the East Coast in November.

Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Stew Tabeekh Ari’ Hilew 

Serves 5–6

In her never-ending quest for undocumented traditional recipes, Laila El-Haddad obtained this one for a sweet pumpkin stew, popular among Gaza City’s older families, from her cousin in 2013. It highlights the sweet and sour fruit-and-meat flavors so characteristic of Persian-influenced medieval Islamic cooking—a real gem.

If dried sour plums (not to be confused with the salty dried Asian ones) are unavailable in your area, substitute 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses and prunes.

• 1 pound (500 grams) stew beef, cut into 1 inch (2½ centimeters) pieces
• 2 pounds (1 kilogram) pumpkin, butternut squash, or other orange-
fleshed gourd, cut into 1 inch (2½ centimeters) pieces
• ¼ cup (30 grams) golden raisins
• ¼ cup (30) grams dried sour plums or 2 tablespoons pomegranate
• molasses
• 8 prunes (if using pomegranate molasses)
• ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ cup (100 grams) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, or one 15-ounce (425 grams) can
• Olive oil
• Salt

Prepare the meat by browning before boiling it. If you are using dried chickpeas, add them to the boiling broth. If you are using canned chickpeas, add them at the end, just before serving, and heat through.

Deep fry the squash in hot oil or oven-roast it, drizzled with olive oil, in a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 35 minutes, until golden.

Once the meat is tender, strain it from the broth, discarding the spices. Pour the broth into a clean pot along with the stewed meat, fried or roasted squash, raisins, sour plums or prunes, pomegranate molasses (if using), cinnamon, and pepper.

Simmer the stew over a very low flame for 20 minutes, add salt to taste, and serve with white rice.