We invited 3 female food critics to tell us which is their favourite Chilean dish, and how to pair it with. Their answers tell us about a diverse cuisine that goes far beyond what we commonly know.
Loreto Gatica: Pork Casserole with Chuchoca
Gastronomic journalist Loreto Gatica, panelist for the program Lujuria Gastronómica on Radio Oasis FM and writer at Finde on La Tercera, is a fan of legumes and pork. “In all its forms”, she remarks. And then confesses: “The Cazuela de chancho con chuchoca is one of those dishes that are no longer found and when I try it… I can die for! The last time I ate it was in April. It was made by Sergio Vásquez, a chef from Maule, one of the organizers of The Dead Pig Festival in Talca. We went to try restaurants with other female food critics and he waited for us with some steaming pots. The Pork Casserole with chuchoca was applauded”, says Loreto.
What does this dish consist of? It is a pork-based broth flavoured with onion, leek, celery and wild garlic, which also has carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, pumpkin and the ingredient that makes the difference: chuchoca (ground, cooked and sundried corn). “It is made with a tender pork cut, so it couldn’t be tastier. I like it because it screams “Chile”, in a very thick clay pot, with the classic dressing of fresh coriander, oregano, cumin and garlic clove. It is a dense broth, where for me the broth and the pork love each other. In addition, the chuchoca gives it that thing from home, with an old flavour. The good thing is that pork is grateful, he doesn’t fight wine, he doesn’t know much about labels, so he lets himself be loved and makes it easy for you. You can pair It can be with Pipeño, Chicha, Pinot Noir or Syrah. Any wine from the Maule Valley is perfect for him, too,” concludes Loreto.
To follow her recommendation, we invite you to try Marqués de Casa Concha Merlot, from the Maule Valley. A wine with an elegant and pleasant toasted note, elegant tannins and great fruit expression.
To find more information you can follow Loreto Gatica on her Instagram account @gaticalomegusta.
Isidora Díaz: Pequenes
Isidora Díaz is a Chilean cook, food critic, the co-author of Todo a parrilla and director of Revista Fondo. Her expertise is undoubtedly everything related to Chilean cuisine, bbq and her irreplaceable writing. Although she has many favourite dishes, she confesses that “lately I’m addicted to the Pequenes. They are like Beef Empanadas (aka Empanadas de Pino), although stuffed only with onion, without meat. They are lighter than the classic empanadas -ideal for an aperitif-, cheaper and easier to cook. My favourite version includes my grandmother’s dough recipe -very buttery-, and an onion filling well-seasoned with cumin and paprika, always with a spicy hint”, says Isidora.
And she adds: “I love the Pequenes with a simple Merlot, that resists the onslaught of condiments but that accompanies it subtly, without ever stealing the movie.” This is the case of Casillero del Diablo Merlot, a soft wine, with little astringency, aromas of red fruits and delicate touches of vanilla and chocolate provided by oak aging. “I think the mix is perfect for a “18 de Septiembre” appetizer, while waiting for the bbq to be ready,” she concludes.
To read her reviews and columns, be sure to follow the Instagram account @revistafondo and check out the site www.revistafondo.com.
Raquel Telias: Prietas
Another reference when it comes to finding new places or making quality controls with a lot of humour, is the gastronomic journalist Raquel Telias. Thus, between laughs, she confesses: “I am fascinated by Dracupán”. What is that?! I ask. And she adds: “Instead of the Choripán with longaniza (Chilean chorizo on a roll) which I still love, I like the Prieta (Chilean blood sausage)”.
And she goes with the details: “I like Don Lolo’s Prietas in Casablanca Valley because they are tremendous, giant, very soft, creamy, they have a little big onion but they are still very creamy. This butcher shop specializes in pork, so its Arrollado de Cerdo (Pork Roll) is also amazing. The others that fascinate me are from La Unión pork shop in Talca. I love the expression of sausages, of the work of the pig beyond a preparation”. For the Dracupán, specifically, she likes it with Marraqueta (Chilean bread) and a very fresh Pebre (the Chilean salsa made with tomato, onion, cilantro and chili)”. And to pair with? “I’m into light reds, so if it’s hot day I like an ice-cold País or a Rosé. But above all, thinking about September 18, I like it with Terrunyo Carmenère”.