Piggy Traveller was in the kitchen last weekend preparing a nice and autumnal dish from Extremadura: ajo de calabaza.
What is it? It’s a pumpkin soup with garlic, bread, red chilli and cumin seeds This dish comes from my hometown of Don Benito, in central Extremadura. The town has a long tradition of pumpkin farming; so much so that a giant granite pumpkin (weighing 41 tonnes) is displayed in one of the main roads. This pumpkin farming tradition also affects local people, who are known as calabazones (‘big pumpkins’).
The recipe requires less than 30 minutes to prepare and the ingredients used are cheap and easy-to-get.
Ingredients (for 4 people):
1 pumpkin (any variety. I used butternut squash)
3 garlic cloves
1 red chilli (I used dry red peppers instead)
2-3 slices of bread, without the crust
Water (to boil the pumpkin)
Vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1. Dice the pumpkin.
2. Boil the pumpkin in a pot until tender.
3. In the meantime put garlic, salt, cumin seeds and the chillies in a mortar and grind them.
4. Add the bread, olive oil and vinegar to the mortar and keep grinding until you have a moist mixture.
5. Add the mixture to the pumpkin. Let it boil for two minutes and turn off the burner.
6. Let it settle for a few minutes.
7. Serve and enjoy.
Comments and ideas
If you like thick soups, add a bit of extra bread to the mix in the mortar.
Crush the pumpkin a bit using a masher if the chunks are too big.
Serve with crusty bread.
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