Fine dining in Chile
If you have ever thought about travelling to Chile, you would be in for a treat. We suggest that you try the following foods while you are there.
1. Beef empanadas
This popular treat is basically stuffed dough that is either baked or fried. The filling consists of anything from a variety of meat, cheese, vegetables and even fruit. The most traditional empanada filling in Chile is called ‘pino’, which is a seasoned mixture of ground beef, onions, raisins, black olives and hard-boiled eggs. The dough is slightly sweet which contrasts perfectly with a savoury filling, and is softer than pie crust so it soaks up the filling.
2. Porotos con Riendes
This very traditional dish is typically served during winter in Chile and is guaranteed to warm you up. It is made with a base of spaghetti and beans, usually pinto beans. The combination of creamy white beans and chorizo sausage makes it both delicious and filling. It is also a great source of vegetable protein, and helps lower blood pressure and keep cholesterol in check. Its name is translated to mean ‘beans with reins’, because the spaghetti resembles the reins of a horse.
3. Corn humitas
In Chile, humitas is prepared with a batter of fresh corn, onion, basil and butter or lard. It is wrapped in corn husks, tied with twine, and baked or steamed. The cook may also throw in a generous amount of ají verde (green chilli pepper), tomato, olive and paprika. You’ll also come across sweet versions of the dish. The humitas has ancient roots and has lasted all these years because it is delicious and simple to make.
4. Charquicán stew
This traditional comfort food is often called ‘jerky stew’ and is made with ch’arki or beef, potatoes, pumpkin, white corn, onion and sometimes peas and corn. The modern version uses minced beef topped with a fried egg. It is slow cooked so the squash falls apart as it cooks which helps thicken the broth.
5. Chilean-style stuffed potatoes
This is a typical dish from the south of Chile that resembles large croquettes or nuggets stuffed with a delicious filling. They can be eaten as a side or main dish and served with a fresh salad, platanos dulce (sweet oven-baked bananas) or a homemade salsa. It’s a complete meal in itself depending on the filling, which can be protein or vegetable based. They are eaten hot or cold.
6. Pastel de choclo
This dish is otherwise known as corn pie and is similar to English corn pudding. It is prepared using sweetcorn or choclo, the local word for ‘tender corn’, and there is no limitation to the filling; ground beef, chicken, raisins, black olives, onions or slices of hard-boiled eggs make their way into the paila (earthenware bowl).
Everyone young and old loves to eat cocadas, a traditional coconut candy. They are baked in the oven but served at room temperature to make the most of their chewy and soft texture. Made with eggs and shredded coconut, they come in a variety of colours today. However, in the old days they were always a delicious golden brown. There are hundreds of variations; from hard, very sweet balls to creamy soft ones.
Lekker Adventures specialises in providing you with the complete travelling experience to Chile. Click here to find out more about travelling to Chile with the assistance of Lekker Adventures.