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Quibebe is a butternut squash-based soup popular in Brazil. In its native country, the soup is often served as a precursor to a larger entrée. Butternut squash is the main ingredient in quibebe and flavorful accompaniments such as onions and peppers are often added to the dish.
Unlike many other butternut squash soups, quibebe has a thick texture, more like a purée than a soup. The dish originated in northeastern Brazil, and like many recipes that have been around for centuries, there are many variations on its preparation. Brazilian families often have specialized recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Quibebe is always served hot.
The basis of all true quibebe is butternut squash. The squash is peeled and chopped into small squares. Cooks pressed for time can opt to buy pre-chopped butternut squash in the produce section of most large grocery stores. The squash is then boiled on a stovetop in water until soft. It is mashed by hand or puréed in a food processor to achieve a smooth consistency. Pumpkin, or another winter squash, can be used in lieu of butternut squash.
After the squash has been prepared, numerous other flavorings and spices are added. Garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper are common spices found in the dish. Some prefer a spicier dish and add red chili to the mixture. Tomatoes and corn are also often found in quibabe to give the dish more vegetables and vary its texture. The ingredients are combined in a large saucepan before serving, and some stock liquid may be added to thin its consistency.
Brazilian cuisine often varies by region, depending on the availability of crops in that particular part of the country. The ready availability of butternut squash in the northeastern part of the country led to the popularity of quibebe. This section of Brazil enjoys a tropical climate, allowing for the growth of many different fruits and vegetables. The flavor of the dish is influenced by dishes found in Africa as are many popular foods in Brazil’s northeast region.
Other common foods found in the northeastern region of Brazil include a traditional dish of white beans and rice, cashews, seafood, and special breads. Many fruits are grown and eaten in this area, including mango and papaya. Cashews are a local crop and are a common addition to many recipes. Quibebe is also often eaten in Argentina.