Chilean cuisine, like all Creole traditions, born from the fusion of the flavors of the Old World and the native ingredients, offers a wide and tasty variety of dishes. I love Chilean food from north to south, from the coast to the mountains. That is why today I present you five emblematic dishes of Chile. My favorites.
Did you know that Chile is the country with the largest coastline in the world? It is. So, don’t be surprised that fish and shellfish are frequent guests at Chilean tables. One of the most beloved dishes of this country is the congrio a la pobre -conger of the poor men. To prepare it you don’t need many ingredients (that’s why the poor nickname). Only fried fish, French fries, caramelized onion and topped with fried egg. Yes, I think you can imagine the delight it is. Maybe it’s not the most dietetic, it’s true, but it’s so tasty. Precisely, to balance this fat feast and underline the presence of fish, the most recommended pairing is Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc. This wine behaves like a knife that cuts the fat and brings freshness to the dish, seducing our palate with its citrus and mineral notes.
Chilean food could be defined as a cuisine that emerges from the sea and the garden. Both, the Mapuche nation and the Spanish conquerors, had a strong relationship with vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. Especially in the winter season, many casseroles of various types of legumes and vegetables are eaten in Chilean homes. But, by far the richest, is a dish called porotos granados -fresh beans stew that consists of young beans with oregano and cumin, corn, squash and a secret ingredient: fresh basil leaves. It is an inexplicable pleasure to eat it and feel its summer aromas. It seems very light, but I assure you, it has its body. That is why I recommend you accompany it with the fruity and creamy Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay.
Rolled? Malaya? May this mysterious name not confuse you. It is a rich piece of beef skirt with several layers of flavors from vegetables such as carrots, onions and sometimes a touch of mustard, spinach or hard boiled egg… It is a homemade charcuterie that can be eaten warm or cold, but the richest thing is to serve it with a toast and a drop of mayonnaise. I love it. My mother-in-law should receive the world award as a Malaya champion. Although it is based on beef, it is very delicate due to its slow cooking, the sweet flavors of vegetables and its fresh and tasty seasoning. My favorite pairing for Malaya is a good piece of bread, tomato and a cold glass of Casillero del Diablo Rosé.
Sometimes the easiest recipes are the most difficult to prepare. The charquicán is a Chilean summer stew. The name derives from the use of charqui (dehydrated meat) in its preparation. Currently, most of the time, it is cooked with ground beef. In addition to meat, pumpkin, potatoes, corn or peas are added. You probably think it’s a very sweet dish, like food for babies. Nothing like that. A skilled cook, is building different layers of flavor, from sautéed onion with spices to the use of colored pepper or merquén to give it a spicy and firm touch. That is why this dish asks for a juicy red wine with very pronounced notes of red fruit. Casillero del Diablo Carmenere fulfills dreams.
Ph: Alicia Solorzano
And to finish this retrospective of Chilean food, the queen of the southern tables awaits us: plateada. This cut of beef, fibrous and with a good layer of fat, is cooked in a pot, oven or, in the best case, in a very traditional clay oven. The secret is that the cooking is very slow, from three to four hours, so that the fat melts and moisturizes the meat. The plateada finishes soft, juicy and tasty. There is no more science than cooking it in a broth with dry herbs, some celery and carrots, red wine and a lot of patience. In addition, of course, with a lot of love for cooking and tradition. This dish is wonderful. It can be eaten cold on a sandwich or shredded with noodles, but it is richer and more comforting to serve it hot over some rustic mashed potatoes. The queen needs her king. Therefore, we have no choice but to toast to plateada and Chilean cuisine with a glass of Casillero Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, the true monarch of the Chilean fields.