(Last Updated On: 10/09/2020)
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):

pumpking, butternut squash

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)


Cumin seeds

Vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)

Olive oil




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.

mortar, pumpin recipes

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.


 The result

pumpkin recipe, spanish recipes

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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Irene Corchado Resmella

Irene Corchado Resmella

I'm a UK-based independent Spanish sworn and legal translator working as ICR Translations. On Piggy Traveller, I share my home region of Extremadura with the world to encourage travellers to discover a different Spain. Serial migrant. Russophile. Married to a Scot. Find me on Instagram.