Tag Archives: pumpkin

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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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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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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Sopa de Porotos and The Nutmeg Experiment


¡Buenos Tardes!

Today was a free day for me because my class got cancelled (cancelled early to, so no pay). Since work seems to be slow going, I figure its best to take advantage of the free time while I have it.

However, despite the free time, this last week has been kinda miserable because of my stinkin’ allergies! I’ve been sneezing for a while, but in the last few days, it has become like having a cold 24/7. I wake up in the morning feeling like a new loaf of bread…that is with a heavy crust over my face (gross).  I read online about these colares de nuez moscada which are essentially just nutmeg nuts on strings which you wear around your neck. Apparently, the nutmeg is supposed to help with allergies, especially with allergies to a tree called plátanos orientales. They have big leaves, like the Canadian maple tree, and love causing me misery. Unfortunately, my alternative medicine approach failed (sorry Mom!). I was sniffing that nut the whole day with no results (nut sniffing…yeah yeah…it’s funny). So, I had to pick up some meds, and was lucky to get some non-drowsy (no sueño) anti-histamine. It seems to be working more or less…hopefully I’ll feel better by tomorrow.

(Necklace pictured above)

This afternoon I met up with Titus for lunch in Bellas Artes and he recommended I try this bean stew called porotos, which is a Spanish white bean. I ordered porotos con longaniza (pork sausage) and it was delicious…I have to learn how to make this. The soup is made with pumpkin, basil, beans, and red pepper. It needed a little salt, but was very filling and hearty.

After lunch, we went to the Memory and Human Rights Museum an the Quinta Normal stop on the green line. It was very interesting, especially having taken a class on South American dictators at Mac. Guess school does pay off sometimes. It was a very pretty museum and I really enjoyed all the video and audio media combined with brightly colored visuals, letters, and memorabilia. I had no idea that they used such horrible means of torture during Pinochet’s dictatorship, like the electrocution methods….awful. It wasn’t the most uplifting visit, but it was inspiring to know they are trying to keep the memories of the victims en vivo.

On a lighter note, I’m excited to go to La Vega tomorrow, the big seafood market downtown and then go to the work party at Bridge. In the mean time, while my cooking continues to be lame, I did pick up some new fruits, including some tunas (prickly pears) and another fruit that is yellow and purple. More on Chilean fruit later.

A chopped up tuna. Lots of seeds….but the juice was good!

I am now failing into a deep, allergy induced coma and must leave more details for another post…

 

 

Ciao!

Porotos Granados

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