jurel roast veggies

Cancato con Vegetales Asados

So this isn’t strictly a Chilean classic. However, it does include some classic ingredients.

Firstly, fish. You can pick up some amazing fresh fish and seafood at the local street market. Anything from whole Pacific sierra to clams to sea urchins. The 1m long sierra seemed a bit excessive for 2 people for lunch and we have limited space in the freezer, so we settled on a couple of jurel. I did a bit of research after and found out that jurel is also known as the extremely overfished Chilean jack mackerel. I’m going to have to suss out some more sustainable options for next time because this dish is delicious.

Admittedly, the probable cause of said deliciousness is offsetting the healthiness of the fish with longaniza (Chilean chorizo) and cheese. If you were looking for a light supper recipe, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. This dish is, unapologetically, a winter comfort food king!

jurel fish cancato

How to make baked fish, usually one of the healthy options, decadent

So as I mentioned before, this dish contains classic Chilean ingredients. We picked up the veggies from the local street market, the longaniza came from Chillán, the city of longaniza, the fish is obviously local because Chile is basically one long beach, and the cheese came from Valdivia, a city in the south.

As this is a baked fish recipe, I decided to make a side of roast veggies, partly to not waste a hot oven, but mainly because I am crazy about roast veggies and the pumpkin here is amazing and South America is the land of potatoes, so my not?!

jurel roast veggies

One method of ensuring you consume a variety nutrients is to ‘eat a rainbow’. Check out this rainbow plate!

Ingredients

For the fish:

  • Whole fish with scales, head and insides removed. Jurel is a very meaty fish, kinda like tuna, so go for something like this so that I doesn’t fall apart in the oven.
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Oregano
  • Cheese, sliced, enough to cover the length of the fish
  • Chorizo, sliced, enough to sparsely cover the fish

For the veggies:

You can use what ever veggies you want for this, but I used these because I had them in the fridge:

  • Pumpkin, potato, carrot, cauliflower, capsium chopped into bite sized chunks, enough to cover a baking tray
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • White wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Marinate the fish in lemon juice, salt and garlic for about an hour. Drain the fish well of the marinade.

Mix the chopped veggies with olive oil, rosemary and seasoning, spread evenly on a baking tray and put into an oven preheated to high. These need to bake for 45 minutes to an hour 1, so put them in before the fish.

Meanwhile, fry the chorizo until just cooked. Don’t add any extra oil because it already has plenty of fat and will cook in its own juices.

Open the fish up in a glass baking dish so the side with skin is facing down. Cover one side with slices of cheese, tomato, chorizo, onion and sprinkle, generously with oregano. Fold the other side over the top so you have what looks kinds like a sandwich, but with fish fillets instead of bread.

Bake the fish in the oven for 35 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. About 10 minutes before it’s done, pour some white wine into the baking dish.

Beans and Pasta

A Vegetarian in Chile: Part 6 Porotos con Riendas

So after my unfortunate encounter with meat the other day, I’m gladly sharing with you another chapter from the Vegetarian in Chile series. This week we’ve been having a taste of Concepción’s infamous rainy winters. And I don’t know about you, but when the weather turns cold and miserable, I turn to hot and hearty comfort food.

Beans and Pasta

There is absolutely no way you can go wrong with this combination. Just don’t forget to cook it

Porotos con Riendas is the ultimate meal for winter comfort. It will knock you out for the count. Do not expect to eat this and then be able to do much after. It is advisable not to eat Porotos con Riendas if you need to drive or operate heavy machinery. Think thick vegetable soup packed full of hearty beans and…wait for it…spaghetti! So if you’re struggling to pick between pasta and soup to warm the belly (this is actually a major challenge for me – first world problems), then look no further.

Porotos con Riendas cooked

You don’t want too much pasta. It’s called Porotos con Riendas, not Reindas con Porotos.

Any sort of white bean should do for this recipe, like navy bean or cannelloni. They have different types here in Chile, we picked some dried beans up from the market the other day. They had about 5 or 6 different kinds of white bean alone!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried white beans, soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight
  • Some spaghetti, about a quarter of a packet. I used spinach flavoured spaghetti because that’s all we had in the house, but good old white pasta will do.
  • Half an onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced or crushed
  • 1 cup pumpkin, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • Handful of red capsicum just for the colour, roughly chopped
  • Tablespoon oregano
  • Teaspoon cumin
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • About a tablespoon of olive oil, butter, manteca (lard) – what ever flavour you prefer (I used butter and olive oil!) – for frying
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Sautee the onion and the garlic in the olive oil/ butter/ manteca in a large pot over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, pumpkin and capsicum and continue to fry for a few more minutes to release all those flavours. Drain the beans and add them to the pot, stirring through. Add the stock cube and enough boiling water to cover the beans by about 2 cm. Cook over low heat with the lid on until the beans and pumpkin are soft, then add the spaghetti. Continue to cook until the pasta is al dente and serve hot.

Food Poisoning: Living in Chile part 3

Well I suppose it was going to happen eventually. I’m definitely not the most sanitary person when it comes to food. I scrape mould off food instead of chucking it out and I also eat food I find in bins. So I was surprised when the food poisoning culprit came fresh from an actual shop!

The butcher down the road sells Prietas (Chilean blood sausage) locally sourced from a small-scale producer. Because it’s traditional Chilean food, I decided to give it a try. Now, blood sausage is not for the weak of stomach. As the name suggests, it has blood in it… So logically we decided to eat it with something else equally rough on the digestive tract – Puré Picante (spicy mash potato). A recipe for disaster (see what I did there?).

When I was in high school, one of my mates told me he liked to vomit apple juice, because it tastes the same on the way up as it does on the way down. The same principle does not apply to blood sausage and spicy mash. My throat and face hurt so much I thought my nose was going to fall off. Luckily, I only vomited continuously for 7 hours, so I didn’t have to go to hospital due to dehydration….

Now there’s stacks of info on the web about what to eat and drink when you are recovering from food poisoning. Obviously don’t hop back on the spicy food bandwagon straight away, avoid foods that are complex to digest like fibrous vegetables, and avoid acidic beverages such as coffee. Any of you who know me know I love all of those things so I’m sure you can imagine that I got pretty bored with soggy white rice and chamomile tea rather quickly.

Probably too quickly. 3 days later, having barely eaten anything since I’d been sick, I thought it’d be a great idea to devour a humongous bowl of Chilean-style chickpeas for lunch, which completely knocked me out (literally though, I passed out and slept for 3 hours. Longest ever siesta?) and I couldn’t eat again until the following day.

Of course I didn’t learn my lesson and proceeded to eat a sandwich containing mayo and avocado, not the lightest ingredients out there. Needless to say I felt like I had a giant rock in my stomach and once again I was out for the count. My boss called me a masochist. He’s probably right.

So just over a week later I’m back on the coffee, but still steering clear of the merquén (sad face). I guess things could have been a lot worse. The same guy who told me about the apple juice was once hospitalised with food poisoning which he contracted when he and his mate had a competition to see who could eat the most Chicken McNuggets. He should have sued, I reckon.

A Vegetarian in Chile: Part 5 Guizo de Acelga

As promised, albeit a couple of days late, the next recipe in the series, A Vegetarian in Chile. We all know that winter is coming, and Guizo de Acelga, a.k.a Silverbeet Stew, is the perfect go to food for warding off the cold. It’s also quick and dead easy to make, using inexpensive ingredients that you can come by most of the year.

This one is basically a variation on Guizo de Zapallo Italiano, but there are a few differences which make this dish extra delicious (I’ll give you a hint: It’s cream).

I’ve chosen to serve the guizo with Papas Doradas (the greatest fried potatoes you’ll ever eat), but Chilean-style Rice is also a great accompaniment. Go ahead and click on the above link to Guizo de Zapallo Italiano for details on how to make either of these sides.

ingredientsThere quite a few variations on how to make a guizo out of this leafy green vegetable. I’m sure my Chilean friends have their own delicious and unique versions, and I’d LOVE to hear your tips, guys 🙂

Traditionally Guizo de Acelga is made with mince meat, but these days it’s not uncommon to find it without, so here is the meat-free version for your vegetarian enjoyment.

guizo de acelga con papas duradas

Ingredients:

  • 1 small brown onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • A bunch of silverbeet, washed, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in a bit of hot water – just a few tablespoons so the quizo doesn’t get to liquidy.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

If serving with one (or both) of the sides mentioned above, start first as these take longer to cook than the guizo.

Heat the oil in a large pot and sautee the onion and garlic on medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the carrot, silverbeet and stock and cook on low heat with the lid on until the silverbeet has completely wilted. You may need to stir periodically and add small amounts of water if sticking to the bottom. Add the cream and eggs and stir through until heated. Season to taste and serve with your chosen accompaniment.

Chilean Bread

A Brief Guide to Chilean Bread

I love bread. I am a self-confessed carbavore. I blame this condition on my German heritage, although in reality that probably doesn’t count as an excuse. But who cares?! Bread is the greatest.

Cera garlic bread

The most heart-breaking moment in movie history

Did you know that Chileans consume the greatest amount of bread per capita after the Germans? So needless to say, bread is an integral part of almost every meal in Chile. Breakfast is usually a “pancito” (bread) with cheese or maybe jam, not uncommonly lunch time includes a bread roll to top off the meal, and then, there’s the “once”.

Once is the Chilean equivalent of the British “elevenses” (morning tea) except it’s eaten at night. Locals will also tell you that once got its name from the miners in the north of Chile, who used it as a code word when they wanted to sneak off for a sip of aguardiente, a liquor which has eleven letters in it. This small meal typically consists of bread, cheese, tomato, avocado, bread, cold meats, maybe some butter or jam, and bread. Did I mention bread? And of course, the most popular bread in Chile is:

Marraqueta

Chilean Bread

Marraqueta

Soft, white bread with a crusty exterior, similar to a baguette except the locals would say it’s better, marraqueta is the king of Chilean bread. Before I left Australia, my Chilean friends could not stop raving to me about the greatness of marraqueta. “Mmmm marraqueta with avocado, cheese and tomato… oh oh marraqueta with butter and jam… you’ve got to try it!” And try it I did. Several times a day in the first weeks, until I realised my rate of bread consumption was unsustainable for my digestive tract, and my figure.

Dobladitas

Although I will always enjoy a nice fresh marraqueta, dobladitas are my favourite. This one, and many other typical Chilean breads, is made with lard, so it’s definitely not an everyday thing (but my god it’s bloody delicious). The first time I tried dobladitas was after a friend’s birthday party in a beautiful old country house. Since most our friends seem to be in the wine making business, it’s safe to say we were pretty hungover. We were woken up by his mum to a breakfast of dobladitas, fresh out of the oven and still warm, with butter, cheese, avocado, and steaming hot tea. Beats coffee and aspirin as a hangover cure let me tell ya!

Chilean Bread

Dobladitas

Hallulla

Not the first thing you think of when someone says Chilean bread, but perfect for the once nonetheless. This one is also made with lard, but I don’t find it as heavy as dobladitas. I love to eat hallulla with butter, some fresh, home-made pebre and a michelada on a warm afternoon or evening.

hallulla michelada pebre

Hallulla with pebre and micheladas. Doesn’t get much more Chilean than that!

Coliza

To me, coliza is like a cross between hallulla and dobladitas. It pulls apart easily because it is made of layers and layers of bread, and looks like it’s been folded over and over.

chilean bread

Coliza (I nicked the photo from http://www.panwitt.cl/img/coliza.jpg)

Tortilla de rescoldo

This one is an unleavened bread cooked over hot coals in a woodfire oven. Traditionally made by rural travellers over a campfire, tortilla de rescoldo has sentimental value for me because it reminds me of good old-fashioned Aussie damper, with that smokey flavour and rich woody taste. You can buy this one freshly made in the streets or sometimes restaurants have woodfire ovens and sell tortillas to take away.

Chilean tortilla bread

Tortilla de rescoldo fresh out of the oven

Oven for making tortilla

Woodfire bread oven

Pan amasado

Just like tortilla de rescoldo, I associate pan amasado with bread from the countryside. Soft and fluffy with a slight buttery taste, pan amasado is the perfect comfort food, with a slice of cheese or fresh out of the oven so that the butter melts when you spread it onto the warm bread.

pan amasado

Pan amasado served in a restaurant with pebre and chilli paste

This is not a complete list of Chilean bread, just a few of the common ones and how I feel about them. Feel free to comment if you think another one deserves a mention, or have delicious bread experiences of your own!

humitas

Humitas con Ensalada Chilena

With Easter just around the corner, I think it’s time to admit that Summer is finally over. But before it leaves the stage, I want to share with you one of my favourite summertime foods of Chile: Humitas!

Humitas are a delicious combination of freshly grated corn, onion, basil and butter, tied up inside a parcel of corn leaves and gently steamed or boiled in a pot of hot water. You can find them all over Chile, in restaurants or in the street, hand-made by someone’s mum.

They are also found in other South American countries, going by slightly different names, with small variations to ingredients and cooking techniques.

Chilean tomato salad

Ensalada Chilena in our brand new handmade ceramic bowl from Pomaire, Chile.

Ensalada Chilena, a tomato and onion salad, is the perfect side to this mouthwatering bundle of goodness, adding a nice contrast in texture and colour to the creamy yellow corn mix.

It’s also quite common to eat humitas as a dessert, sprinkled with sugar, alongside a cup of tea.

Unfortunately, corn is a crop harvested in Summer, so I won’t be eating these again until later in the year. Corn is available here in winter, but it is usually imported from the US and in an effort to reduce food miles, I’ll be giving it a miss.

unwrapped humita

Humita unwrapped

Pebre

Next to bread, pebre is basically a staple here in Chile.  It’s rare that a restaurant doesn’t serve up a complimentary bread and pebre as an appetiser. Seriously, though, watch out for this. I always fall into the trap of eating too much before my food comes because this combo is dangerously delicious and we all know that food tastes better when it’s free, ammiright?

Once again, all my fresh ingredients, came from the local street market

Once again, all my fresh ingredients, came from the local street market

Pebre is a kind of tomato salsa. I associate it with summer time, because of the juicy fresh red tomatoes you can find at this time of year. It’s something I refer to a fair bit in this blog so I thought it would be nice to share this recipe with you. Pebre is great for nibblies, as a side dish, or for an afternoon snack with a beer or michelada (Chilean beer cocktail).

Sorry for the bad photo - it was night time.

Sorry for the bad photo – it was night time!

Prepare pebre close to the time you want to serve it. It will not keep longer than 1 day due to the tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 300g tomato, finely diced
  • 50g brown onion, finely diced
  • 50g banana chili (those long yellowy green ones that aren’t too spicy), finely diced with seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Handful coriander, finely chopped
  • Tablespoon olive oil
  • Tablespoon vinegar
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Method

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve fresh with white bread and butter. See I told you it was easy.