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Carnes al Disco


Well, I´ve been on a bit of a hiatus because there have been some changes in the last few months. The biggest being I am going to move to South Korea this August to teach English. Signed, sealed, delivered. It´s happening: contract, flight and all. Therefore, I´ve been dedicating my remaining time to being with friends and soaking up my last few months in Chile.

Last weekend, I went to Algorrobo with my housemates to do a little bonding. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not on our side and it was rainy and windy the whole time. At one point, the power went out too. So, we decided to make the best of the situation and started a fire, poured some wine, and started cooking.

One of my favorite aspects of Chilean cuisine is that the majority of the food and cooking is a social process. Whether it is a weekend asado or a long Sunday almuerzo, Chileans like to take their time and chat while the food slowly simmers. One of the best examples of this type of food is cooking in a disco which is similar to an Asian wok, except not concave. The legged, deep pan is put directly over the fire and the food cooks for hours to build flavor. Typically, Chileans will make this dish with seafood (mariscos al disco) but sometimes they just stick to meat, which is what we did in Algorrobo.

And it was absolutely delicious. We put in potatoes, onion, 6 cloves of garlic, wine, salt, chicken, sausage, carrot and green pepper and let it do its thing, stirring occasionally.

The chicken and sausage got nice and tender and the juices from the onion and meat mixed beautifully with the soft potatoes. Be sure to dip your bread in the juice!

Unfortunately, many of us do not have an open fire or a disco at our disposal, so I came up with a way to replicate this dish without the special equipment. And, maybe it wash´t exactly the same but it was really delicious nonetheless.

Grace´s Carnes al Disco sin Disco

INGREDIENTS:

4-6 small chorizo sausages

1 whole chicken cut into pieces or 4 thighs, bone in

2 large onion, sliced thinly

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large carrots, sliced thinly (I used a peeler)

1 large green pepper, sliced

4 tablespoons of salt

1 pinch of tarragon

1 pinch of pepper

1 pinch of merken (optional)

5 large potatoes, peeled and sliced like french fries

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup of wine

DIRECTIONS:

Put in the onion, garlic, potatoes, chicken and sausage and put on medium high with a little bit of olive oil. After about ten minutes add the wine and carrots. After about 10 minutes add all the spices. Now, all you have to do is stir occasionally, and let this puppy simmer for about an hour, or as long as possible, until the onions are caramelized and the potatoes soft. Add a cup of water about halfway through. The chicken should be fall off the bone soft and the potatoes nice and soft.

Buen Provecho!

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Pollo Arvejado


Hello Everyone!

The other week I put together a yummy Chilean chicken dish, thanks to the recommendation of my friend Erin Davies. She said her “Chilean mom” always makes it and it is super tasty, so I gave it a shot. I played with it a little, but mostly stuck to the original.

First, the recipe I found online in Spanish:

Pollo Arvejado

Preparación: 60 minutos
Para: 4 personas

1 pollo (aprox. 1 kg)
2 cucharadas de aceite
2 zanahorias
2 medianas cebollas
2 hojas de laurel
sal y pimienta al gusto
1 1/2 tazas de vino blanco *
2 tazas de arvejitas
1/2 taza de champiñones
1 cucharada de harina

Lave el pollo bien en agua corriente, séquelo, y córtelo en presas. Corte cada cebolla en cuatro pedazos. Corte las zanahorias en rodelas.Calienta el aceite en una sartén grande sobre un fuego medio-alto. Ponga las presas en el sartén, y fríalas por aproximadamente 5 minutos, o hasta que estén doradas.

Agregue las cebollas, pimienta, sal, laurel y zanahorias. Fría unos 5 minutos más y añada las arvejitas, champiñones y vino blanco.Cuando la cocción hierva, tape la olla, baje la llama, y deje cocer por 35 minutos. El pollo debe estar bien cocido. Cuando está cocido, el pollo no tiene un color rojo cerca del hueso.

Una vez terminada la cocción del guiso, destape la olla y espolvorée la cucharada de harina. Revuelva bien y cueza por 2 minutos.

Sirva este delicioso plato con arroz y ensalada chilena.

My English version with edits:
Chicken and Pea Dish
Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 carrots, cut in round
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
2-4 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups of white wine
2 cups of frozen peas
2 cups of mushrooms, cut in half
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of flour
DIRECTIONS:
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan and fry the thighs until golden brown.
Add the onions, carrot, bay leaves, and salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes until the carrots start to get a little soft.
Add the white wine and cook for 10 more minutes on a low simmer.
Next, add the peas and mushrooms, cover and lower the temperature. Cook for 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and there is no red near the bone.
Finally, add the flour, stir well, and  cook for another 2 minutes.
Serve hot with rice or potatoes and ensalada chilena (Sliced tomato and red onion)
TIPS:
Do not do what I did, and use canned peas. They turn to mush.
Do not use an entire chicken unless you know how to butcher it into small pieces. I highly recommend thighs because there are the perfect size.
My pictures ain’t glamorous but this dish rocks. Trust me.
Some day I will have a professional camera/photographer and then I will be famous!!

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Cazuela de Ave and Learning Chilean Spanish


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

INGREDIENTS:

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

black pepper

cilantro, minced

1 cup of  white rice, cooked

thinly sliced green beans/red pepper (Or, I used a frozen veggie mix with peas and carrots)

DIRECTIONS:

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!

Grace Geiger

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Life on the Daily: Beef Curry and My Beef with Chile


Happy Friday y’all.

It’s been about a week since my last post. This is why:

1. I have not been cooking interesting things or eating out much because I’ve been sitting around my house, trying not to spend money. This will change, but during April, pickings are slim. Money is being saved for trips and weekend outings. Also, I’m still sort of figuring out Chilean food. I didn’t come here knowing much and am starting from scratch with what is available here, how to make it, what it’s called, etc. I need a cooking guardian, some nice Chilean to show me how to make authentic dishes in her home. Right now, if I only made Chilean food, that would mean eating hot dogs and french fries everyday which would kill me in a week.

2. Nothing that exciting has happened. Regular life is regular life. I’m not on one big vacay, I’m doing the daily livin’ thing as a poor teacher. Sometimes that just involves watching Confessions of a Shopaholic with Spanish subtitles and eating chocolate…..what can I say.

This week had some ups and downs.

Ups involved getting one more class (still need more work! Right now I have about 5 classes a week. I need more like 8-12 classes a week to be makin’ ma rent), going to the ZOO, and getting my apartment and life more straightened out. The Zoo was sweet, I’m definitely going back. Sure, it wasn’t the best zoo I’ve ever been too, but giraffes and zebras and lions are always fun to see, and the older i get, the more I’m fascinated by exotic animals. Plus, the funicular is pretty cool.

Downs  of the week included having my camera die at the zoo, not having enough to do, cloudy weather, and general frustration with lack of work.

I think on the whole I feel  I’m hitting that one month mark where Chile is losing it’s exotic, newness and I’m starting to realize life is life, and work is work, even if it is in a fun new place. The money part is frustrating too. Not because I don’t have enough, but because life is expensive! Especially getting a new place. All the sudden paper towels, groceries, toilet paper, metro passes, shampoo, pots, and kitchen supplies all really start to add up. I’m not looking to make a fortune here, but I want to be making my rent and also just be more busy during the work week, feeling productive.

But, enough whining (unless it’s Winning or Wining). Really this is the life. And I’m very happy.

So happy, that I made delicious beef curry!

Shout out to Bryce in Uganda, this recipe is for you. For you and all the strange curry mixtures you made. Even though I made fun of you, some of them were pretty legit and I’m totally copying you in this recipe. Yes, beef curry is not Chilean but its delicious, cheap, and easy.

Quick and Easy Beef Curry with Potatoes

Ingredients:

Beef (I bought a big chunky steak type cut. Any stew meat will work, and fatty is probably best), cut into cubes

I large carrot, diced

1 large onion, diced,

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon of curry powder

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons of sugar (brown sugar is even better!)

2 tablespoons of salt

fresh lemon juice (one lemon will work)

black pepper

3 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup of water

Directions:

In a large pot, put the onion, garlic, olive oil, beef cubes, and all spices. Once the meat has browned a bit and the onions are soft, add the carrot, potatoes, and all spices except bay leaf, salt, and sugar. Once all the ingredients are mixed and fragrant, add the water, sugar, and salt, and put the lid on. I would let this baby simmer for about a half hour at least. you want the potatoes and carrots to be soft, and the liquid to have become nice and brown from all the meat juices. Once the curry look how you’d like it, and the juices have reduced to a thicker liquid, add lemon juice (or a splash of red wine vinegar).

Serve over rice with cilantro for garnish.

Well, I’m off to enjoy a sunny Friday afternoon. Have a great weekend!

Madras Beef Curry

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup on a Lazy Sunday


Dear Readers,

I’m sorry to say I’ve been a disappointment this weekend. My PLAN was to go out Saturday night, maybe even go to Valpo to the beach, but it all fell apart because I could not even get out of bed yesterday. So, I didn’t. But, 12 hours of sleep later, I’m starting to feel a bit better. Maybe, in the future, when I’m not feeling well, I won’t go out til 3am and drink lots of beer. Maybe, just maybe, that didn’t help.

However, had I not gone out (and had a great time too) I would not have discovered the most delicious bar food ever. I’m not sure EXACTLY what it’s called (promise, I’ll get back to you). But it’s definitely some version of a Pobre. Anything a lo pobre means with french fries,  sauteed onions, and a fried egg. You could have lomo a lo pobre, bistec a lo pobre or even pollo a lo pobre. You can’t go wrong. I will definitely dedicate a post solely to this menu item…but for now all I can say is they brought out a huge plate of french fries with fried onions, sausage, beef and two fried eggs and I almost passed out from deliciousness overload and the amount of garbage in my tummy.

Well, it finally got to me. The grease, the beer, the allergies, and since Saturday morning I’ve been a sad mess. But, today, I was feeling a bit better and ventured out with my housemate Amanda to go to La Vega. That’s right…again. This time, to buy things! And oh boy did I buy things.

I think my total count looked like this:

a whole chicken (which I almost left there)

an eggplant

a red pepper

basil

parsley

ginger

cumin

oregano

celery (tons)

carrots (tons)

paprika

pan del dia

and…some juice, soy sauce, rice, and chocolate for good measure.

Carrying groceries is hard work! I think by the time I leave, I’m gonna be ripped from hauling groceries all over the city. I finally got my loot home and started getting ready to make my first batch of homemade chicken noodle soup! That’s right, you heard me. My FIRST. I’ve never made it from a whole chicken. But, it was super easy. Took about two hours, but it was fantastic. No, there is nothing Chilean about chicken noodle soup (Chicklean?) but I’m gonna blog it anyway. I’m telling you, from scratch is the best! Don’t worry, it’s easy. You can put a chicken in a pot, right?

Grace’s Made From Scratch Sopa de Pollo

1 whole chicken (innards removed)

4 stalks on celery, chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

1 whole  yellow onion, diced

4-12 cups of water

4 tablespoons oregano

2-4 tablespoons black pepper

4 tablespoons of salt

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of parsley, chopped

1/4 basil, chopped

1/4 pack of spiral noodles(or whatever), cooked and drained

DIRECTIONS:

First, make the pasta! You know..follow the package. Then set the cooked pasta aside.

Put the whole chicken in a large pot (as big as you can get!) with half the carrots, half the celery, 2 tablespoons of oregano,  2 tablespoons of salt,  2 tablespoons of pepper and the garlic. Add water until the liquid reaches about an inch or so from the top. You want it full, but so it won’t bubble over when you boil it (Sorry, these directions are vague, and mostly just practical, but I wanted to make it easy for anybody). Get the water to a slow boil, and then leave it for at least an hour with the lid on. After about 40 minutes, turn the chicken over so it gets cooked on all sides. After about an hour and half, it should be totally cooked and the broth should have those delightful yellow oil spots creating a mouth-watering smell in your kitchen.

Pour the liquid through a strainer into another pot. Take the chicken and cut it into bite size pieces and then add back to the new pot of clear stock. Add the rest of the celery and carrots. Then, add the onion, the rest of the spices, the pasta, and some lemon juice and simmer for about 10 minutes until the  veggies are cooked, but not too soft. Finally, add the chopped parsley and basil, and taste for salt.

My oh my!

Boilin’ ma chicken

Veggies

Doesn’t get much better than that..

Delish

Seriously, I already feel 1000000X better.

What’s your favorite homemade soup recipe?

Also, shout out to Andrea’s blog, Can You Stay for Dinner? where she did a post of a equally yummy looking chick’n’noodle.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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