CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 13…Chile…where Curanto is the National Dish…

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…I have Chel to thank for giving me some ideas from which this one took shape…Thank you Chel x

Today I am looking at Chilean Cuisine.

Chile is located on the continent of South America, Chile is a country along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. With the exception of the western border of Chile, the country is surrounded on its other sides by Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.

If you look at the map Chili given its width of approx 110 miles is extremely long…wedged between the Pacific ocean and the Andes which is the worlds longest mountain range its climate goes from tropical to glaciers and icebergs…given that the cuisine is varied the wine beautiful…Chile is the 5th largest exporter of wine and the 9th largest producer. And not just any wine, but some of the best and finest selection of wines have been produced in Chile since the first wine grapes were planted in the country in 1554, brought by Spanish Conquistadores.

With all that coastline it stands to reason that seafood features heavily in the cuisine of Chile…the food can best be described as a fusion of Spanish influences with local Mapuche culture and ingredients, the Mapache are the indigenous people of Chile. Thanks to its diverse geography and oxygen-rich waters, it’s home to a wide range of agricultural products and a unique variety of fish and seafood.

Chile’s cuisine can be separated into three regions. The northern region is known for its barbecued and cured meats like charqui and Asado, and its hardy stews such as the caldillo de congrio. The central valley and coastal areas are known for their tasty soups, desserts, and street foods, including empanadas and Indigenous dishes like humitas.

The south of Chile is known for its Indigenous influence on food, including spices like merken…Merken is a traditional Chilean seasoning made from Goat’s Horn Chile (aji cacho de cabra), which is mildly spicy and smoky. Its coarse texture is similar to other crushed peppers like Red, Aleppo and Urfa…It also has delicious cake recipes brought over by German settlers during colonial times.

Lunchtime is the most important meal of the day and that makes sense to me healthwise…It typically starts with a fish, meat, or poultry dish followed by a stew with choclo(corn) and potatoes…Pastel de choclo is a beef and corn casserole that is a very traditional and popular dish in Chile. Lots of different flavours, like beef and onions, raisins, olives, and roasted chicken, go into the body of the casserole, and the whole thing is topped off with a thick layer of creamed choclo corn…a corn pie…

Three types of bread often accompany meals which usually end with dessert and herbal tea to aid in digestion.

Immigration often shapes a country’s cuisine and Chili is no different…due to the arrival of immigrants from countries like Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Croatia, Belgium, and Greece. All these different cuisines left their mark on local cuisines and helped steer the course of Chilean gastronomy…

Let’s start with a breakfast of huevos revueltos or Chilean scrambled eggs?

It’s a popular breakfast dish in the Chilean countryside where it’s often served with fresh tomatoes and pan amasado a Chilean kneaded flatbread…I love the fact that lots of vegetables are included in the meals you can see a common theme of vegetables, bread, potatoes, meat or seafood running through most of the dishes.

Cazuela…

The term Cazuela can refer to a traditional Chilean dish and the cooking vessel which is a clay pot…Popular in South American countries like Chile and Peru…

Chilean cazuela can be made with different proteins like pork, goat, lamb, turkey, or llama, but the most popular versions are made with chicken (cazuela de ave) or beef (cazuela de vacuno). It’s made by boiling the meat with chopped onions and carrots in one pot, while the rest of the ingredients are boiled separately in individual pots. Only when the dish is served do all the components come together.

Upon serving, a bowl of cazuela typically includes squash, potatoes, corn, and rice to go with the meat. It’s usually garnished with fresh parsley, coriander, or aji Verde (spicy green sauce). After the meal, leftovers are usually saved and used to make carbonada.. which is another type of Chilean stew…I am impressed as freshness and waste of food seem to be at the forefront in many areas nose to tail eating is found especially among the indigenous peoples.

The national dish of Chili is ” Curanto.”..a meal cooked over a fire pit a communal meal which I love to see… a dish that includes seafood and or meat, vegetables, potatoes and bread…

the experience of cooking this traditional way would be something I would love to see and taste…What an experience that would be…

The food of Chile is definitely teasing my taste buds…with dishes like Porotos Granados which is a thick and hearty stew that’s often consumed in the Chilean countryside. It’s made with ripe cranberry beans, corn, and squash mixed with other ingredients like onions, pumpkin, cumin, basil, and oregano. It’s typically made in the summer to coincide with the harvest of corn and summer squash in central and southern Chile.

Traditionally, Porotos Granados is made with cranberry beans though they can be substituted with other Chilean beans like Tortola, coscorron, or Bayo. Vegetable broth is most common though chicken or beef broth can also be used.

Not forgetting a children’s favourite…I know my here would love these…Chilean steak rolls are especially popular among children. Recipes vary from household to household but they’re typically made with flank steaks stuffed with chard leaves, zucchini, and carrots. The steaks are rolled and held together with toothpicks before being browned in a pan and stewed with tomato sauce, mushrooms, and vegetables…I am still pleased to see though that vegetables are very present in all the dishes even for the kids…

Given the extremely long coastline, I cannot leave out the delicious seafood stew…caldillo de mariscos refers to a traditional Chilean seafood soup. It can be made with different types of seafood like mussels, fish, shrimp, and squid cooked in a broth with onions, potatoes, white wine, and various herbs and spices like red pepper, paprika, and bay leaf, and oregano.

It’s typically garnished with fresh parsley and served with a spritz of lemon juice…

To go with all these delicious hearty dishes you must have bread to mop up all the juices and Marraqueta is the most popular type of bread in Chilean cuisine. They’re crusty and crunchy like French bread – hence the alternative name pan francés – and known for their distinctive shape and large-ish size that allows them to be easily divided into four segments. It basically looks like four bread rolls merged into one.

According to some historians, marraqueta may have originated from Valparaíso sometime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During that time, this major port city received thousands of European immigrants, among them two French baker brothers with the surname Teran-Marraquett. They invented this bread which would soon become a staple food throughout Chile.

I cannot finish this virtual tour without exploring Street Food …there are even hot dogs …

Although there were hotdogs they were loaded with veggies, empanadas are baked rather than fried and potatoes are in the stews or baked I didn’t see much evidence of fries everywhere which is impressive the food seems hearty and wholesome with the emphasis on fresh vegetables …

Thank you for joining me on this virtual tour of Chili I do hope you have enjoyed the tour…I look forward as always to your comments…xx

16 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 13…Chile…where Curanto is the National Dish…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 17th -23rd April 2022-Monday Musings, A-Z World Cuisine, Chile , Food Review “Regenerative Agriculture” and Saturday Snippets where “Space” is my prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 13…Chile…where Curanto is the National Dish… – MobsterTiger

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