Tag Archives: corn

Charquicán


I recently heard about this dish from one of my Chilean students and I immediately knew I had to try it. Corn? Basil? Pumpkin? Count me in.

Charquicán is a word that derives from the Quechua and Mapuche word, charqui, which means jerky. During Andean times, meat and fish would frequently spoil, so they would dry their meat in order to preserve it. The charquicán stew is traditionally made with dried meat and an array of South American vegetables (squash, potatoes, corn) and topped with a fried egg.

Over time, people began to substitute fresh beef (ground or shredded) for the jerky because of the jerky’s strong, sometimes abrasive taste. Which is exactly what I did.

Charquicán

Ingredients:

1 white onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 or 2 lbs of lean beef (You can either use ground beef or thin filets)

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 large chunk of pumpkin (called zapallo in Chile, but you can use squash if you like), cubed

2 cups of beef stock

1 hand full of fresh basil, roughly chopped

3 cups of fresh or frozen large kernel corn

1 tablespoon of paprika

1 tablespoon rosemary

3 tablespoon of cumin

3 tablespoons sea salt

pinch of black pepper

1 tablespoon of oregano

2 tablespoons of olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the beef into strips and simmer in 1/3 c caldo for 1 hour. Shred the beef and save the juices. (If you are using ground beef, skip this step)

Sauté the shredded beef (or ground beef) with the  onion, garlic, pumpkin, potatoes, spices, and salt and pepper in the olive oil in a large, deep pan. Once the beef is cooked and the vegetables nice and fragrant, add the beef stock and simmer until the pumpkin and potatoes are soft (about 20 or 30 minutes). One the potatoes are softening up, mash them up a little to give the stew some thickness, then add the corn and basil and stir. Let the stew simmer for about 10 more minutes until it is nice and thick. Taste for salt or  more spice.

Serve hot in a bowl with a fried egg on top.

Note: Feel free to add more, different vegetables (tomatoes, peas, green beans) and whatever spices feel right. You can’t go wrong with this homey, comforting dish.

This stew is lovely with a free green salad or ensalada chilena and a big glass of Chilean wine.

Another great idea would be to make this a vegetarian stew (use vegetable  or chicken stock and no meat) and serve with a nice juicy steak.

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Pastel de Choclo


Well. Looks like I’m still here. No rapture for me. BUT I did make sure I went out and partied it up, rapture style. Rapture sounds kinda like Raptor. What’s better….a raptor party or a rapture party?

Sorry about that. I get distracted easily..

So, my tooth has improved 100 percent. I still gotta get surgery next Friday, but it’s great to able to eat real things. To celebrate, I took a crack at making Pastel de Choclo.

This recipe was a little high maintenance. The ingredients were all easy to find, and not very expensive, but there were a lot of steps involved. I get the feeling this is the sort of thing you make if you already happen to have some of this stuff pre-made lying around, but who knows.

I blatantly stole this recipe off the Food Network website. I was surprised to find very few English recipes for this dish on most of the major websites. Seems Chilean food is unexplored territory for mainstream America on the whole. There’s probably good reason for that; Chilean food isn’t exactly….um…I dunno. Special. It’s delicious, there are unique flavors, and definitely some special dishes, but it still ain’t no Italian food.

However, I found this dish really satisfying. The combination of the savory, spicy chicken, briny olives, and sweet, fluffy corn is unique and distinctly Chilean. I adapted this recipe a bit according to my whim, and definitely would do a few things different next time. The recipe called for 5 cups of chicken stock, then never said when to add it??? Anyway, it all worked out.

Pastel de Choclo

Ingredients;

1 bag (about 3-4 cups) of frozen corn (or fresh kernals)

2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded

1/4 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of kalamata olives (pitted)

1/2 cup of raisins

3-4 hard boiled eggs, sliced

1 cup of milk

1 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon of oregano

salt

pepper

1 teaspoon of sugar

a pinch of powdered sugar

fresh basil, chopped

olive oil

Directions: 

Start with poaching the chicken and making the hard boiled eggs. I’d actually recommend you do this the day before to save time if possible.

Before you start, set up all your ingredients, chopped, and ready to go. This will make it much more for too cook.

Heat up the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions with the oregano, paprika, and cumin until translucent. Then add chicken and stir until savory. Once the mixture is nice and fragrant, add it to the bottom of a casserole dish, or if you have it, a round, heavy pan. The best would be a paila (an earthenware dish)  but beggars cant be choosers and a casserole dish is all I had.

Next, make the corn mixture. If you have fresh kernals, grate the corn with a grater. If you have frozen corn (like I did) use a food processor and grind the corn until it is like a corn paste. Next, melt the butter in a deep pan on medium high heat, and add the corn, salt, sugar, and milk. Stir the mixture until it is nice and thick. Add fresh basil.

[I had some issues with this step. My mixture just would not thicken. I finally had to add some flour to get it right….anyone know what happened? Do I need cornstarch?]

Now the fun part. Arranged sliced egg, olive, and raisins on the chicken, and then pour the corn mixture on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the top is nice and browned.

Serve hot.

I think this recipe would be fabulous served in individual pots with a nice ensalada chilena (tomatoes, onion, and vinegar) or a fresh green salad.

Pastel De Choclo

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Hearty Porotos Granados for Easter Sunday


Happy Easter Everyone!

I had a fantastic Easter with good friends and good food. We even dyed eggs and rolled them down the hill! This apparently is a Scottish/European tradition. Rolling eggs down a hill. So, we brought a few beers to the park with our  colorful dyed eggs and the races began. We got quite a few looks. Maybe that was the homemade bunny ears I made and wore…who knows.

Since  I had some time Saturday, I decided to make this yummy dish. Yes, I cook when I’m bored…don’t judge me. I mentioned this dish previously in one of my first posts. When I tried it at the restaurant I knew I had to make it myself. It’s a fairly simple dish, but it does take a little while to cook all the squash and beans. Worth the wait. The sweet, mushy pumpkin and light, white porotos beans makes for a filling, delicious stew for anytime of year. The dish is similar to Three Sister’s Stew, a dish my mom used to make at home all the time. It is authentically Chilean, using both Spanish and Chilean ingredients in a delicious fusion. The recipe below was adapted from I recipe I found on whats4eats.

Porotos Granados

1 cup white porotos beans, soaked and drained (an alternative could be white cannellini beans)

3 cups of squash or pumpkin, diced with the skin removed
(I used a big chunk of calabaza which is sold everywhere here in Chile. It’s really more like squash then pumpkin, but the calabaza itself is huge so they have to sell it in pieces

1 cup diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)

3 cups of chicken stock (I used water and bouillon base)

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 white potatoes, diced (optional)

1 carrot, diced (optional)

1 cup of frozen corn

chopped basil (as much as you can get your hands on)

Directions:

    1. Heat the oil over medium flame in a large pot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Stir in the garlic, paprika, cumin and oregano and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
    2. Add tomatoes and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add the stock, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, beans, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is cooked through and soft.
    3. Take a fork and mash up the pumpkin, potatoes and carrots to thicken the broth. You can also use an emulsion blender if you like to get a thicker stew. Be careful not to mash up all the beans. You don’t want an orange paste.
    4. Stir in the corn and basil. Simmer another 5 minutes, adjust seasoning and serve with a nice chorizo sausage and some fluffy hunks of pan del día. This stew is  also excellent  served with a simple ensalada chilena (tomato, red onion, cilantro and oil and vinegar)
Calabaza
Porotos!
Pre-boiled stew

Drool. 

It was delicious with a little parmesan cheese on top. 


Porotos Granados

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