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Carbonada Criolla (Argentinian Beef Stew)

June 09, 2021
Photo: Dan AllenPhoto: Dan Allen

Years ago in Jerusalem, some Jewish friends from Argentina made me something delicious from their homeland: carbonada criolla, sort of an Argentinian tsimmes—a rich beef stew with lots of vegetables and fruit, usually peaches, served in a large pumpkin or squash. Criolla may refer to the social class of the same name, established by Spain as part of Argentina’s colonial caste system. It could also refer to a varietal of grape that grows in Argentina; after all, wine is an important component in the stew.Carbonada Criolla (Argentinian Beef Stew)

Featured in: Beef Up Your Pumpkin


  • 6tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2pounds boneless beef or top round, cut into 1 1/2 -inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2cups red wine
  • One 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1teaspoon oregano
  • 1teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1pumpkin or squash, large enough to hold 10 cups of stew
  • 3carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2large sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 2large potatoes, peeled and kept whole
  • 1 ½cup fresh grapes or dried plums
  • 1bunch parsley (1 1/2 cups divided)
Yield: 6-8 servings


  • Step 1

    Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a 4-to-5-quart stew pot. Toss in the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant. Remove from the pot and set aside.

  • Step 2

    Season the beef with salt and pepper. Then brown in the same pot on all sides. Add back the onions and garlic.

  • Step 3

    Pour in the wine and increase the heat to reduce the liquid by half. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, paprika, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, then season with salt and pepper.

  • Step 4

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut the top off the squash or pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and sprinkle with salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a few splashes of water to keep it from drying out. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin meat is tender and the shell still holds its shape.

  • Step 5

    While the pumpkin or squash is baking, put the carrots, potatoes, grapes or dried plums, and 1 cup of the parsley in the stew. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to cook for 30 minutes or until tender.

  • Step 6

    When the pumpkin or squash and the stew are done, remove from the heat and the oven. Put the squash or pumpkin on a large serving dish, remove the bay leaf from the stew and spoon the prepared carbonada inside the squash. Serve, sprinkled with the remaining parsley and tilt the top of the squash or the pumpkin alongside.