Chicken Stew in a Pumpkin Shell (Frango na Moranga)


Hello, everyone!  I am so happy to be sharing with you today this Chicken Stew in a Pumpkin Shell — a dish from my beloved Brazil.  I hope that y’all are doing well, and that you enjoyed our last creation: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan-Chocolate Topping — a treat inspired by my second home, my dear USA.

Both dishes are featured in our Thanksgiving celebration this year.  I hope that they will become a part of your table as well. If you would like to make your chicken stew in a pumpkin shell using turkey, you certainly can. It is also a great way to get rid of Thanksgiving leftovers too.

In Brazil, shrimp stew in a pumpkin shell (camarão na moranga) or jerked beef in a pumpkin shell (carne seca na moranga) are the most popular.  But as you see, using other meats such as poultry or fish is not unusual.  They are typical dishes from my region, Northeast Brazil, although they are often enjoyed in other regions as well.

Our chicken stew in a pumpkin shell or frango na moranga is naturally gluten-free, as are many dishes from Northeast Brazil, and perfect for a Thanksgiving celebration or the Fall season.  In Brazil we do not have a national Thanksgiving holiday set aside, although we are thankful for all that we have on an everyday basis. However, several Brazilian dishes would be lovely to serve during Thanksgiving Day celebrations here because of ingredients shared in common, such as pumpkin.

Chicken Stew in a Pumpkin Shell (Frango na Moranga)

Now, I do have to say in my home country the pumpkin shell is usually prepared by boiling.  However, as a chef I prefer to roast the pumpkin shell instead, in order to preserve both its flavor and texture.  If you don’t have access to requeijão (Brazilian cream cheese spread), no worries!!!!  You can use American cream cheese like I did.

Brazilians usually make this chicken stew in a medium to large pumpkin shell (family-size) which is later ladled out and served on individual plates.   However, you can easily use small pumpkins for making this chicken stew in a pumpkin shell, and then present them as servings for each individual. Can you picture everyone seated at the table, each enjoying their own stew in a pumpkin shell?  How cool would that be!  That would be a marvelous idea for entertaining.

Well,  whether served as a family-sized or as an individual dish, our chicken stew in a pumpkin shell is easy to make, creamy, and delicious.

Chicken Stew in a Pumpkin Shell (Frango na Moranga)

Now which way will you prefer to serve it???


5.0 from 5 reviews
Chicken Stew in a Pumpkin Shell (Frango na Moranga)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A hearty and creamy chicken stew served in a pumpkin shell to brighten your Fall or Thanksgiving table. You can substitute turkey instead of chicken.
Recipe type: Main dish
Cuisine: Brazilian
Serves: 6-8
  • For the Pumpkin:
  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • A pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Chicken Stew:
  • 2 tablepoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds (700 g) roasted chicken, skinned and shredded
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree scooped out from the roasted pumpkin lid
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 oz (about ½ cup) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese for the topping (Mozzarella or other semi-soft of your choice. I used Fiesta Blend in mine)
  1. For the pumpkin: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Trace a guide line around the top of the pumpkin using a pumpkin carving tool or a paring knife. Then, following your guide line, use a sharp knife to cut off the top or lid.

  3. Scoop out all the seeds from both the pumpkin and the lid.

  4. Season the inside of both the pumpkin shell and the lid with salt and pepper, and brush the rim of the pumpkin shell and the inner part of the lid with melted butter. Use the remaining melted butter to drizzle the inside of the pumpkin shell. Place the pumpkin shell on one baking sheet, and on the other sheet place the upside-down pumpkin lid. Top each with a sheet of parchment paper.

  5. Bake each individually. First bake the pumpkin shell for about 30 minutes or until it is soft when poked with a knife. Then, bake the pumpkin lid for about 20 minutes. Remove the covering of parchment paper from the top of each, and let cool on a rack. Once warm, scoop out the roasted pumpkin pulp from the lid and, if necessary, from the pumpkin shell-- just enough to obtain ¾ cup of pulp. Be careful to not slit open the pumpkin shell: you want to preserve the pumpkin shell where the chicken stew will be served. Reserve the pulp.
  6. For the chicken stew: In a large dutch pan, heat the oil over medium heat and sweat the chopped onion for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the shredded chicken, and sautée for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and let evaporate. Stir in the tomato paste and then the stock, salt, and pepper. In a blender, blend the reserved roasted pumpkin puree with the coconut milk and add to the chicken stew. Bring to a boil; then decrease the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and let simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
  7. Mix the softened cream cheese into the chicken stew and let cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped parsley or cilantro. Pour chicken stew into the pumpkin shell that has been resting on the baking sheet, and top stew with the shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and begun to brown a bit.

  8. Serve chicken stew with white rice. Enjoy!





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51 Responses to Chicken Stew in a Pumpkin Shell (Frango na Moranga)

  1. SallyBR 7 November, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Que saudade! One of my favorite Brazilian recipes, either with shrimp or chicken as you posted…


    you are such a great cook….
    SallyBR recently posted…IN MY (NEW!) KITCHEN: NOVEMBER 2013My Profile

  2. Shema | LifeScoops 7 November, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    This looks perfect for the fall weather. I loved it. The presentation is so good!
    Shema | LifeScoops recently posted…Rainbow Polka Dot Cake / Vanilla cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue ButtercreamMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 7 November, 2013 at 7:21 am #

      Thanks, Shema! This is a great dish for the season…

  3. Lail | With A Spin 7 November, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    A gorgeous, colorful, vibrant dish. Love every bit of it, Denise.
    Lail | With A Spin recently posted…Old Dhaka Bakarkhani – A Legendary BreadMy Profile

  4. Dan from Platter Talk 7 November, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    The best and most creative food post, today. And I only had to go to Brazil for it! Very nicely done!!

    • Denise Browning 7 November, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      Welcome to FBTY, Dan! Thanks a lot for stopping by and leaving a comment. I do appreciate it!
      I am glad that you liked this post. This is a very homey dish, typical from my Northeast region. In my state, Pernambuco, this is a popular dish. Actually, there is a restaurant down there specialized in this type of dish.

  5. Ash-foodfashionparty 7 November, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Quite intrigued. Very unique and looks absolutely fantastic and festive. I am definitely going to try this method sometime,love it. Roasting it definitely brings out the best.
    We don’t have this holiday either in India, but I love it here.
    Ash-foodfashionparty recently posted…RAVA-NUTS LADDU – HAPPY DIWALIMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 7 November, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks, Ash! You won’t regret to make this dish.

    • Denise Browning 7 November, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks so much, Stephanie!!!! I am happy because you are visiting FBTY!

  6. Kumar's Kitchen 7 November, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    stunningly gorgeous stew….looks so sunny…perfectly tempting,thanks for sharing :-)

  7. The Café Sucre Farine 7 November, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    What a lovely presentation for a wonderful looking stew. I know your family/friends must have been thrilled with this!

  8. What a great looking dish. There is a lot you can do with a pumpkin shell bu this looks totally worth it. I’ll bet it is a family favorite.
    [email protected] is How I Cook recently posted…Ma’aneesh or One Way to Get My Za’atar FixMy Profile

  9. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal 7 November, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Oh how awesome, such a creative way to serve stew (or soup). I’ve do this!
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal recently posted…4 Ways To Make the Treadmill More Fun!My Profile

  10. Liz 7 November, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Such a gorgeous presentation!!! And I would have never guessed that this was a Brazilian inspired recipe. YUM!
    Liz recently posted…Chicken Tortilla Soup #GiveawayMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 8 November, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      Thanks, Liz! This dish is from my region in Brazil.

  11. Sugar et al 8 November, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    That is such a creative way of serving chicken stew. I can imagine eveyone digging into thier own little stew pot…lovely! The colours are beautiful Denise!
    Sugar et al recently posted…Cauliflower and Broccoli GratinMy Profile

  12. Coffee and Crumpets 8 November, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Aren’t pumpkins wonderful for serving bowls and vases?! I used to do my Thanksgiving centrepiece in a little pumpkin.
    This looks wonderful Denise! Stunning and delicious!

    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted…Orange and Pomegranate SaladMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 8 November, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks, Nazneen! Pumpkin is indeed a wonderful thing.

  13. Deb 8 November, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I have a pumpkin on the counter just waiting to be “stuffed” and baked with seasonal goodness! I was leaning to a savory bread and cheese stuffing but chicken stew sounds enticing! This splendid recipe may just be our Sunday dinner this week!
    Deb recently posted…Kale Salad with Apples and CashewsMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 8 November, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      I hope you make it, Deb! You won’t regret…This is one of my favorite stews.

  14. cquek 9 November, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    i love your presentation too.. i love to have one big pumpkin.
    cquek recently posted…Sushi Zanmai @ Gurney Paragon PenangMy Profile

  15. Nami | Just One Cookbook 9 November, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Love that you used the pumpkin shell to serve the stew! More appealing, appetizing, and fun!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted…Lost and FoundMy Profile

  16. I’ve had soup from a pumpkin shell before, but never a chicken stew. Love the idea! Terrific recipe – thanks.
    [email protected] recently posted…Quick Corn RelishMy Profile

  17. Gintare @Gourmantine 11 November, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I love the presentation in the pumpkin shell, playful and pretty. I just happen to have a spare pumpkin lying around, I think i’ll be trying your stew soon :)

    • Denise Browning 11 November, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      You won’t regret, Gintare! This stew is delicious.

  18. Raymund 11 November, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Nice recipe but the presentation is even more amazing! Would love to do this in the future.
    Raymund recently posted…Guisadong Pechay (Sauteed Bok Choy)My Profile

  19. Juliana 11 November, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    Wow, this looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious Denise…can you believe that I never had this dish back in Brazil? I think it is about time to give this a try.
    Great pictures my dear and have a lovely week 😀
    Juliana recently posted…Green Onion and Ginger SauceMy Profile

  20. I gues you just inspired me my friend!
    i just brought a butternut pumpkin and i guess i’m gonna made this kind of stew with pork….
    [email protected] Chef recently posted…Dry Aged Black Angus Striploin Steak with Spicy Balsamic Vinegar and Shallots Jam RecipeMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 12 November, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Hi, Dedy! Pork would also be a great meat to make this stew in a pumpkin shell. Enjoy!

  21. Kiran @ 14 November, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    So comforting!! Send me a stuffed pumpkin, please? 😀
    Kiran @ recently posted…Autumn Panzanella SaladMy Profile

  22. Saskia Ghirotti 17 November, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Looks delicious!
    Saskia Ghirotti recently posted…MOQUECA a Brazilian Seafood StewMy Profile

    • Denise Browning 17 November, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Thanks, Saskia! Good to have you visiting me again here.


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