There’s no better entrée into a culture than its food. (I’ve written before about my love of food, and my love of the place where food and travel meet.) I’m preparing to release the details of Mockingbird’s epic – and I mean EPIC – tour of Chile, and to whet your appetite (pun intended) for all things Chile, this week’s blog offers up two authentic recipes from this South American foodie paradise.
I first tried these recipes in a cooking class I took in Santiago (which will also be a highlight of Mockingbird’s tour!) and I’ve made them again at home with equal success. “Porotos Granados” is a light summer soup, perfect for using fresh corn and basil from the farmer’s market. It’s surprisingly tasty for having so few ingredients, and it’s hardy enough that it could be a vegetarian main course. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Chilean meal without a refreshing pisco sour (or two) to wash it all down. Toast your meal with a cheer of Buen provecho! – and enjoy.
Porotos Granados (Chilean Bean Soup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can of navy beans, drained
3 ¼ cups vegetable broth
3 cups butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 ½ cups corn kernels (frozen, or 2 ears fresh)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt and black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the paprika, then add the onions and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.
Add the navy beans, broth and squash to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat until the squash begins to soften, about 30 minutes. Add up to ¼ cup of water if mixture becomes too dry.
Stir the corn and basil into the pot and cook, uncovered, until the corn is tender and the broth is thick, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6.
4 ice cubes
1 cup pisco
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg white
1/3 cup lemon juice
aromatic bitters (fresh basil)
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on high until finely pureed. Garnish with an additional dash of bitters.