Happy Hump Day everyone!
It’s been a crazy few weeks. Been struggling to get the best schedule/work load to pay the bills and worrying about other useless stuff. A lot of boring things to do, like go and get my temporary RUT (half way to being Chilean!) and cash checks, blah blah.
But, I did have an eventful weekend, so that helps with the boring week. Last Saturday night I met up with some Chileans for a night out. By the time I got home my brain was swimming (for many reasons). Speaking spanish for 12-24 hours is exhausting, especially Chilean spanish. Although, I’m starting to pick it up (whether I like it or not). Thus far, I’d adapted “sipo,” (means yes basically) “cachai” (you know) “como estaí” (Como estas) but have yet to adapt “weon” (dude, sorta) because I’m afraid. All in good time.
Today is a slow day for me, with only one class at 6:30pm. So, what do I do with my spare time? Cook. Of course.
Today I took a stab at making Cazuela de Ave (see older blog post).
I seem to have a strong penchant for soups and anything that can be made in a huge pot. I love stewing, seeping, and simmering. The smell of spices and juices mixing….mmmm mmmm.
Cazuela de Ave is a perfect mix of Spain and Chile, blending native ingredients like pumpkin and corn with more european flavors and ingredients like rice, onion, garlic, and parsley. Traditionally, the soup might have been made with quinoa, red pepper, and local foul or meat. When the Spanish conquerors arrived on the scene, they named these soups “cazuelas” because they were made in large pots/tubs.
Cazuela is fresh, flavorful, hearty, healthy and filling. It is South American’s version of chicken noodle soup and my does it sooth the soul. Moist, soft hunks of pumpkin drenched in freshly made stock, garnished with herbs. What could be better? Serve it on cold winter nights or when your system needs a re-boot.
Cazuela de Ave
2 chicken legs, skin on (or thigh/leg, breast/leg combo)
6-8 cups of water
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 hunk of pumpkin of squash, cut into 4-6 large chunks
4 small potatoes, skinned and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 ear of corn, cut into thirds
1 teaspoon oregano
bouquet garni (click here for explanation)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoon of salt
1 cube of bouillon (optional)
fresh parsley, minced
1 cup of white rice, cooked
thinly sliced green beans/red pepper (Or, I used a frozen veggie mix with peas and carrots)
Cook a small pot of rice and set aside.
Take you chicken and cover it with half the garlic, salt, and a dash of pepper. Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and turn the heat to medium high. Stick the chicken in the pot and brown the skin slightly.
Next, add 6 cups of water, or until pot is a little over 3/4 full. Boil the chicken in the water for about 40 minutes until the liquid has absorbed the chicken flavor and the water looks more yellow and rich. I added bouillon to my broth at this point only because I didn’t have much chicken and the stock seemed a little bland, but in the future, I might not do this. It was a little salty.
Then, remove chicken from the pot and drain liquid through a strainer into a different container and set aside. In your original pot, add a few tablespoons of olive oil, the onion and carrot. Next, add the oregano, cumin, salt, and left over garlic. Stir until fragrant. Add the potatoes, squash, and corn, green beans/bell pepper, bouquet garni, and the remaining stock and chicken pieces. Gently boil for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes and squash can be pierced with a knife.
To serve, put a tablespoon of rice at the bottom of a deep soup bowl with some of the vegetables. Next, add a piece of corn, a hunk of squash, potatoes, carrots, and a chicken leg (or piece of chicken). Garnish with fresh parsley and cilantro.
Serve with some warm fluffy pan del día and butter, and nice big glass of red, Chilean wine. You’ll thank me.
Serves 2-4 (depending on how many pieces of chicken you use). I had tons of leftovers.
Simple, fresh, and satisfying, this dish a winner in my book, and might be the new, improved chicken noodle soup for years to come.
Has anyone else made cazuela and made it differently?
Stay tuned for more Chilean adventures. Until next time, ciao!