Tag Archives: salt

Humitas and Chilean Asados

Good morning! It’s a beautiful Sunday here in Santiago.

I’ve had an awesome weekend. The perfect blend of cooking, down-time and fun. Friday night I was determined to make humitas. Humitas are a very authentic Chilean dish and are essentially like tamales but without the flour (only corn).

After a frustrating trip to the grocery store I got all my ingredients together and began the process (They had peeled corn and horrible corn with husks, but not good corn WITH husks). I blatantly stole the recipe from Laylita’s blog, an awesome fellow Seattleites’ latin food blog.

I changed the recipe ever so slightly because I did not have coriander, and it turned out fabulous!


6-7 fresh ears of corn, with husks

3 cups grated or crumbled cheese, mozzarella or a fresh farmers cheese

1 cup diced white onions, about ½ large onion

1 tsp ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, crushed

About 1 cup corn meal

¼ cup of heavy cream

2 eggs

1 tsp salt


1. Remove the husks from the corn and soak them in boiling water for a few minutes.

2. Remove the silky hairs from the corn and cut off the kernels with a knife.

3. Put the corn kernels, onion, cumin, garlic, cream, cornmeal and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.

4. In a large pot, put about 2 1/2 cups of water and place a steamer in the bottom. If you do NOt have a steamer (like me) you can use the left over cobs (Genius Laylita!). Just place them in the bottom of the pan and cover them with a few husks.

5. Now it’s time to make the humitas! You will need at least two large husks per humita, maybe three. I cannot explain how to fold the humitas, mostly because mine were definitely just like a weird made-up thing, but this is what Laylita said,

“use 2 of the large corn husks per humita, place them on top of each other, fold the left side of the husks, then fold the top half over the bottom half, this creates a semi-pocket, fill it with a spoonful of the mixture (how much mixture will depend on the size of the husks, the larger the husks the more filling you can add) and stuff some of the remaining cheese in the middle, now fold over the right side of the husk and tighten it up a little bit, use the thin strips to tie around the wrapper and keep it closed.”

You are basically making a little packet that you tie with a small strip of husk.

4. Put the humitas in the pot and cover with a lid. Steam for about 30-40 minutes, until they feel nice and firm.

5. Once they are cooked, remove from the steamer and  serve nice and hot with some fresh salsa. Or, for a killer breakfast, fry em up the next day and serve with a fried egg, fresh pico de gallo, and hot coffee. YUM.

Two changes for next time (because I WILL be making these again):

1. I would buy corn with bigger husks next time so I could make larger humitas

2. I’d use less corn in the filling because my humitas were a little soft.

Overall, a definite cooking success and I’m very happy to have humitas in my fridge for the week.

On Saturday, I went to Amanda’s Chilean friend Rocio’s birthday party, which in classic Chilean style, was a huge BBQ filled with obscene amounts of meat and alcohol. We had the BBQ on San Cristobal on the back part of the hill/mountain which I’d never been to before. The company was great, the meat was excellent, and the views were spectacular.

As always, choripanes, ribs, and longanizas.

Great day! And to end it all, Amanda and I came home to a new, HUGE TV from our landlord and a clean house. Ahhh.

Today I’m gonna play a little soccer and go buy some vegetables for the week. Hope everyone is having a good Sunday!




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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


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



1 teaspoon of sugar

a pinch of powdered sugar

fresh basil, chopped

olive oil


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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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


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)


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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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






celery (tons)

carrots (tons)


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


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


Doesn’t get much better than that..


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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