This shrimp stuffed pumpkin (camarão na moranga) is SO delicious! With an incredible flavor and a rustic yet sophisticated presentation, this recipe is sure to impress everyone!
Would you like to impress your family or guests? Don't worry, I've got you covered! Shrimp stuffed pumpkin or camarão na moranga, as it's called in Brazil, is the perfect dish for a special occasion. Family or friends gathering, Christmas, Thanksgiving... You name it! Can you imagine your Thanksgiving with this beautiful and delicious addition? It's for sure going to wow everyone.
Camarão na moranga is a traditional Brazilian recipe that enchants everyone who tries it. Not only for its rich flavor but also its somewhat unusual presentation, far from the traditional pan or platter.
Oh, and don't worry! Although it might seem a little intimidating, camarão na moranga is pretty easy to make. The only part that needs a little effort is preparing the pumpkin. But if you follow the steps below, it'll be a breeze.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cinderella pumpkin: It's an heirloom pumpkin variety that's great for cooking. You could use another suitable for cooking variety, but it won't look like the traditional recipe, though.
- Shrimps: Use raw, medium or large, deveined, and peeled. Shredded chicken could also be a cheaper option.
- Heavy cream: Brazilians use table cream, a cream that is shelf-stable and comes in a can. But heavy cream works just as well in this recipe.
- Cream cheese: Brazilians usually use requeijão, a sort of spreadable cheese. But since it's very hard to find in other countries, cream cheese is just fine.
- Flour: We'll use only 1 tablespoon mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. It's what we call slurry. This mixture will help to thicken the cream. Some people use cornstarch, but I think it's better with flour.
- Tomatoes: I like using Roma tomatoes, but if you want, you could use canned peeled tomatoes.
- Onion, garlic, pepper, salt, olive oil, and cilantro: The only ingredient that can be substituted here is cilantro. If you don't like it, you can use parsley.
- Coconut chips (optional): It adds more flavor and texture to the recipe, but it's optional. Use unsweetened coconut chips. Do not use shredded coconut.
How to prepare the pumpkin
Tips for the pumpkin
- Buy a pumpkin with no bruises, so there's no risk of it being rotten on the inside;
- Choose an opaque pumpkin with a dry stalk. If the stalk is green, it means that it has not matured.
- If you want a faster cooking process, you can microwave the pumpkin in 10-minute increments until it's cooked through. A toothpick should be able to penetrate without too much resistance. The flesh inside should be easy to scrape off with a spoon.
- Be careful not to overcook it as it may collapse.
- If water forms inside the pumpkin, ladle it out before adding the filling.
How to make shrimp stuffed pumpkin
- Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, as they can become rubbery.
- If desired, you can cover the filling with mozzarella cheese and brown it in the oven. This step is optional but if you do, make sure to place the pumpkin in an oven-safe dish.
- Avoid moving the pumpkin from its place after filling it, so the bottom won't break with the weight of the filling.
How to serve
In Brazil Camarão na moranga is served with white rice and shoestring potatoes. A leafy green salad goes well too. Baby arugula is great with this dish.
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Camarão na Moranga (Shrimp Stuffed Pumpkin)
For the pumpkin
- 1 large Cinderella pumpkin (around 10 lbs. / 5 kg) (cleaned)
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the shrimp chowder
- 2 lbs raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, tail-off)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic (aprox. 4 garlic cloves)
- 1 cup diced onion (aprox. 1 small onion)
- 4 chopped Roma tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz cream cheese (150g) (softened)
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons water (mix the flour with this water)
- ½ cup coconut chips (optional)
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped cilantro or parsley
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Set aside.
For the pumpkin
- With a mortar and pestle or food processor, crush the onion, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper, until it becomes a paste. Set aside.
- Using a kitchen utility knife, cut off the top of the pumpkin, creating a lid. Remove fibers and seeds. Rub the seasoning paste all around the inside of the pumpkin and rub the vegetable oil on the outside.
- Wrap the pumpkin in foil, place it in an oven-safe dish, and bake for approximately an hour to an hour and a half (checking frequently after 50 minutes). A toothpick should go in without much resistance, and the inside flesh should be soft. Remove it from the oven and set it aside.
For the shrimp chowder
- In a thick-bottomed pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat up. Add the shrimp (without the liquid) and sauté until it changes color and becomes tender, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Add a little salt if necessary. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté garlic and onion. On low heat, when onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook it for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft. You can add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture starts to dry.
- Bring shrimps back to the pan (with its liquid) and add the softened cream cheese, heavy cream, and flour mixed with the water (slurry). Stir well and let it cook for a few minutes until it thickens to the desired consistency. Turn off the heat, add coconut and cilantro (or parsley) and stir to combine. Taste and correct the salt if necessary. You can add more slurry if you want it thicker or more heavy cream if you want it thinner.
- Place the pumpkin on a serving dish/platter. Open the pumpkin top and, with the help of a ladle, fill the pumpkin with the shrimp chowder. Using a spoon or fork, scrape the bottom and sides of the pumpkin every time you add more filling and mix everything.Serve it immediately.
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