This recipe appeared in the Washington Post magazine in October of 1982. That may be where your wife saw it. I have made it a number of times. It makes a particularly nice informal Sunday supper, since it is so impressive in the pumpkin shell.
1 large diced onion
4 mashed cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 pounds chuck cut in 2-inch chunks
1 pound tomatoes, peeled & chopped
4 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsps chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp oregano (given the age of the recipe, this assumes dried)
1 tsp thyme (ditto)
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1 large Hubbard squash or pumpkin
4 Tbsp butter
2 sweet potatoes (abt. 1 lb) peeled & cut into chunks
3/4 cup uncooked rice
1 handful each of dried apricots and dried prunes
1 cup corn (canned, frozen or fresh)
1 1/4 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
2 cups peach halves (or cut smaller if large)
Saute onion & garlic in oil until starting to brown. Add the beef and brown on all sides. Add tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. Cover and simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Remove the top and seeds from the pumpkin or squash. Sprinkle with salt, dot with butter, and dampen with a little water. Bake about 20 minutes or until tender.
Back to the stew: Add the potatoes and rice, simmering for about 15 minutes more. Add more broth if necessary. (I have usually found that more is needed. Between the rice, the dried fruits, and the natural thickening capability of the potatoes, it tends to come out pretty thick.)
Add the apricots, prunes, corn and peas, simmering for another 10 minutes or until the corn and peas are cooked. Just before serving, add the peach halves, heat, and then turn into the cooked pumpkin shell.