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Thursday, June 21, 2012


Photo: from
 H.R. Hatfield

calabaza, L. Lagenaria sicereia, Eng. gourd. It is available in summer and fall. Today, it can mean a pumpkin too, but not in the Middle Ages, as it came from America. 

1. gourd recipes introduced by the Arabs were complicated as they require eggs and baking. The flowers were fried or stuffed with the pulp, which are nutritious. Soup purees were made with the flowers, butter, perfume water, salt, pepper and fried croutons with aromatic herbs sprinkled on top. 

Unique in Andalusia was pulp from squash streamed in molds shaped like animals. After removing it from the molds, it was coated with flour, egg and fennel and fried in olive oil. Prior to serving, spices were sprinkled on top and cilantro juice, vinegar or another liquid was poured over it. A typical dessert surviving from this era is a squash containing mustard seed and lemon peel beside the usual ingredients for squash dishes. 

The juice was drunk to kill worms. Avenzoar advised that the gourd is cold and humid, lacking in substance and slowly digested. If consumed without excessive cooking, it can produce fainting and stomach pains. For this, some call it “poison’. If over cooked, Avenzoar continues, it may be adequate for those with a hot nature, which will improve their health, at the same time it provides moderate nutrition, i.e. not excessive or slight. 

2. any gourd dried, hollowed out and used as a container for wine, water or other liquids. Pilgrims, in England and Spain, attached them to their walking sticks. See puré de calabaza. [ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 00:Glos.; Ibn Razīn/Marín. 2007:35:263-267; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:84; and Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:33:118]

PURÉED GOURDS IN MILK AND CHEESE WITH LAMB ADAPTED FROM SENT SOVÍ #LXXXXIII Qui parla en altra manera con se deuen coura carabaces ab let h ab formatge p 125
For 6 persons

Lolita Leg ofLamb
Photo from:
 Edsel L

2 lb leg of lamb deboned and tied with a string
2 lb gourds
3 medium onions
5 slices of bacon
½ c lard or suet from the kidneys or other parts
1 ½ qts almond milk or goat’s milk[1]
2 c diced cheese
3 whole eggs

slivers of cinnamon
fennel and mache


Debone the leg of lamb in order to facilitate carving. Tie it. Peel gourds, remove the heart and seeds. Cut into pieces and wash well. Peel onions and cut into slices.

Put lard, bacon, meat and seasoning in a pan. Fry over low heat. When browned on both sides add gourd and onions; cover and let cook slowly, turning the meat every 8-10 minutes with a wooden spatula and taking care that the gourd does not stick to the bottom of the pan. The lamb and the bacon should be cooked in an hour. Separate the gourd and purée it. When the gourd is puréed add milk and cheese and let it cook about 15-20 minutes stirring constantly. Add salt to taste. At the last minute blend in beaten eggs and mix well.
Serve the purée in an earthenware dish or bowl. Sprinkle it with cinnamon. Drain off grease around the meat and carve it into pieces that are not too thick and put them on top of the purée with the bacon. (A variation is to cover this with a layer of thinly sliced cheese putting it in the oven for about 5 minutes for the cheese to melt.) 
This dish can be made with other parts of the animal such as the kidneys, etc.

[1] For almond milk recipe see almejas blog published on August 10, 2011.

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