Curried Beef Stew in a Pumpkin Shell

Curried Beef Stew in a Pumpkin Shell

Serving this soup in a pumpkin shell is not essential to the recipe, it’s a fine recipe served simply in a bowl. But what could be more festive to the season than serving a rich beef stew–or any thick soup or stew–in a pumpkin shell? I served this in small, individual pie pumpkin shells but if I was serving a crowd, I’d select a much larger one.

I love the addition of curry to this stew, but the definition of what constitutes a curry is as vast as the Indian Ocean. I’ve heard it said that, “Curry is not a thing, it is a state of being”. Curry powder is a blend of spices, not necessarily a dry blend, varying according to regional preferences or traditions. As a result, there are literally thousands of curries, each of which is uniquely suited for the produce and tastes of the region it was developed.

Indians tend to use garam masala (another type of curry powder, of which there are also many variations) the way people in the west use curry powder. An exception is in the south they have developed a mixture called “sambhar powder” that is quite different from garam masala.

Whatever curry you favor, this stew is delicious. As with most soups and stews, this is best made a day in advance, adding the zucchini and yellow squash when reheating.

Recipe: Curried Beef Stew in a Pumpkin Shell


  • 2 1/2-3 pounds boneless chuck or English roast, fat removed and cubed into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
  • 4 1/2 cups-5 1/2 beef or vegetable stock


  1. In a large bowl, toss the cubed beef with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and lightly coat each cube with corn-starch, adding a little at a time.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown meat on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of stock, scraping up brown bits.
  3. Stir onion, celery and 2 tablespoons curry into pot and cook until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Return beef to pot and sauté an additional minute. Add 4 1/2 cups stock, stirring continuously, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until fork-tender, 2-2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, adding more curry powder to taste. If stew is too thick, add additional stock as needed.
  4. Stir in zucchini and yellow squash. Cook an additional 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

Active Time: 1 hour (including time to carve pumpkin bowls)

Simmer Time: apx. 2 1/2 hours

Number of servings (yield): 4-6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.


Recipe: Pumpkin Shells


  1. Select 4-6 small, unblemished pie pumpkins, about 5 inches in diameter. Preheat oven to 400° . Carefully cut around stem of each pumpkin to create a “bowl”. Remove top and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place shells upside down in a baking pan filled with about 2 inches of water. Steam in oven for 40-50 minutes or until flesh is fork-tender. Remove, fill with hot stew and serve.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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