Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 35 Chile(Santiago)(SA)! Ensalada Chilena (salad), Pastel de Choclo (Corn and Meat Pie), Up Next, China

Ensalada Chilena - a more beautiful sight, I've rarely seen

What would Rod say?
You decide: Is there such a thing as coincidence and fate, or do things in this universe happen randomly?

Here's how it went down: As I was preparing to research the beautiful country of Chile and tonight's meal, I checked my email as I always do. Waiting in my "in box" was a message from an unknown name. I opened it (relying on Norton to protect me), and was amazed to find that the sender had come across my foodie blog while researching places in the Metrowest Area to move with her young family. She said she liked the vibe she got from my blog (and my fire pit!) and wondered if Id be willing to talk with her about the town I live in. She attached a link to the company she and her musician/therapist husband own and operate so I'd know she was legit: WWW.SINGALINGO.COM,  Turns out, it's a totally cool educational company that helps parents, teachers and gift-givers teach children a second language (in this case, Spanish) through the meaningful use of music, movement and fun. 

I emailed her my cell number and 10 mintues later, she called. We chatted for a few minutes, and I suggested she come over for coffee and gave her my address. I'd barely finished giving her my street name and number when she shouted, "No way! I love that neighborhood and I know that street! I was there yesterday looking at house..." Fate? Coincidence? Randomness? I don't care, I'm just gonna go with it!

Tonight's Meal: Ensalada Chilean (salad) and Pastel de Choclo (Corn and Meat Pie)
Tomatoes, onions, lemon and cilantro

Soak onions in water for about an hour to take out some of the bite (I used Vidalia onions because that's what I had)
Peel and slice tomatoes thinly, then squeeze juice of a 1/2 a lemon  

Cook butter, corn and basil

Add milk (I added a little flour to thicken) and simmer

Saute onions, add ground beef, then layer with olives and raisins
Add cubed chicken
Top with corn mixture and bake at 400 for about 30 minutes till golden brown on top

Ensalada Chilena and Pastel de Choclo
Dessert-beautiful locally grown peaches my sweet friend Debbie brought me today~xoxo!!

Chile is located along the southwestern coast of South America. Chile is a 2,653-mile-long, skinny string of land, averaging just 109 miles wide. The country has the rugged Andes Mountains in the east and another lower mountain range along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Between the two mountain ranges lies a fertile valley where Chile's agricultural activity is centered. Chilean farmers do not grow enough crops or raise enough livestock to feed the country's population. Food must be imported, which is very expensive.

Chileans normally eat four times a day. The first meal of the day is breakfast, which mostly consists  toasted bread with butter and instant coffee with milk. Lunch (served between 1:00 and 2:00 P.M. ) is the big meal of the day. Traditionally two main dishes are served. The first course may be a salad of some kind. A common salad is the ensalada chilena, including sliced onions, chopped and peeled tomatoes, an oil and vinegar dressing, and fresh cilantro (coriander). The second dish generally includes beef or chicken, accompanied by vegetables. Around 5:00 P.M. Chileans take once, an afternoon tea with bread and jam, that often also includes cheeses and palta (avocados). Once, which means "eleven," is evidently named after the British tea time—11:00 A.M. Around 9:00 P.M. most families serve dinner, which is usually a single but substantial dish, most often accompanied with wine grown in the many Central Valley vineyards.

Chilean cuisine has both Indian and European influences. The national dish, porotos granados, for instance, has ingredients characteristic of Indian cooking (corn, squash, and beans), with distinctly Spanish contributions (onion and garlic).

The Recipes

Ensalada Chilena (Chilean Salad)


  • 4 cups onions, finely sliced
  • 4 cups peeled tomatoes (may be canned and drained well), finely sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the sliced onions in a bowl.
  2. Cover with cold water and let set for 1 hour, then drain the water.
  3. Mix onions with the tomatoes on a large platter.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour oil and lemon juice on mixture.
  6. Mix and serve with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.
Serves 4.

Pastel de Choclo (Corn and Meat Pie)


  • 4 cups frozen corn
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 pieces of cooked chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat the corn, basil, salt, and butter in a large pot.
  3. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
  4. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Set aside while the meat filling is prepared.
  6. Fry the onions in oil until they are soft.
  7. Add the ground meat and stir to brown.
  8. Drain grease from pan.
  9. Add salt, pepper, and ground cumin.
  10. Use an oven-proof dish to prepare the pie. Spread the onion and ground meat mixture on the bottom of the dish, then arrange the olives and raisins on top.
  11. Place chicken pieces over the top.
  12. Cover the filling with the corn mixture, then sprinkle on the confectioners' sugar.
  13. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  14. Serve hot.

Final Assessment: The salad was TO DIE for - I could eat it for every meal and never tire of it. The meat pie was very good. I loved the combination of raisins, cumin and reminded me a little of Shepherd's pie, which I love.

1 comment:

Young Werther said...

The salad looks really good!

China next eh? That should be a real challenge, one could probably cook for a whole year based on the different Provinces.