Tag Archives: warm

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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San Pedro de Atacama


After the flat tour I was very excited to go across the border back to dear old Chile. Within a one hour bus ride, the temperature changed dramatically to a hot, desert climate which was great after cold Bolivia.

A friend recommended a nice hostel called Sonchek which was the perfect option. It was budget friendly, but had nice hot showers and clean rooms.

The first day I spent walking around the city, enjoying some down time. San Pedro is mostly just a tourist hub and a starting point for tour operations, but I actually really enjoyed the town itself. It has a New Mexico vibe with white washed buildings and dusty roads.

That Sunday I booked a sandboarding tour which was really fun. It ended up being a lot more challenging than I thought  (There are no lifts up the dunes…you just gotta haul it) and kind of a bummer getting sand everywhere, but overall it was an awesome time.

After boarding, we had pisco sours overlooking the valley which was lovely.

That night I took myself out to a fancy dinner at a restaurant called Piedra Blanca. I ordered the Quinoa Cannellon which was like a crunchy  quinoa shell filled with pulled pork in a tangy sauce. It came with a sweet potato ginger mash, zucchini, and porotos verdes with merken.

This dish was a tasty blend of local ingredients with a gourmet twist.

Some people really dislike San Pedro because it is expensive and touristy but I really loved it. You can’t spend more than a few days there unless you want to do a bunch of tours, but I loved the atmosphere of the town and perusing the shops and cafes. It was definitely one of my favorite stops on the trip.

This concludes my travelogue, so to speak. It was an incredible trip and I highly recommend doing the same loop if you get the chance.

Now that I’m back in Santiago its back to teaching and back to cooking! Stay tuned for more recipes and dishes coming soon.

 

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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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