Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chilean Pastel de Choclo or Shepherd's Pie

Chilean Enchantment
For our 45th global culinary adventure a we chose the country of Chile.  My husband's friend Juraj, gave us recipes for his favorite dishes. These are the foods he eats when he returns home.  I love finding recipes this way. For our first taste of Chile he suggested, Pastel de Choclo which is similar to Shepherd's Pie, Sopaipillias, Chancho en Piedra (a tomato sauce),  and a bottle of Santa Ema Reserve Merlot from Chile.

Personally, I don't think Shepherd's Pie is anything special, but the Pastel de Choclo was a taste sensation.  I was surprised by the seemingly random ingredients like hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, beef, corn, and raisins, but their flavors complemented each other perfectly.
Pastel de Choclo adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com/

1 lb ground organic beef
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup raisins
1 onion peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 T water
Salt and pepper
2 hard-cooked large eggs, sliced
1 chicken breast thinly sliced and sauteed
3 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh
3/4 cup whipping cream

Soak raisins in hot water until plump about 10 minutes.  Hard boil 2 eggs and saute chicken breast slices.  Preheat oven to 450.   Heat oil in saute pan.  Cook onions until softened.  Add garlic, paprika, cumin and water.  Add ground beef to pan and cook until no longer pink.  Add olives and raisins and remove from heat.  Process corn kernels and cream in food processor.  Add salt and pepper.  The original recipe said to divide beef mixture into individual oven proof crocks which I do not have, so I spread the whole mixture into a casserole dish.  Then layer the sliced eggs and chicken on top.  Spread out the corn and cream mixture until it covers the entire top. Bake on 450 for about 15 minutes.  Then raise temperature to broil.  Watch carefully and broil until tops are browned, about 4 minutes.  Serve with Santa Ema Reserve Merlot from Chile

Sopaipillias, fried dough, were a whole new experience for all of us.  In Chile they are served as either a bread with a tomato based sauce or a pastry with a sweet sauce.  The dough is a simple mixture of  flour and zapallo squash which I had never heard of.  I found out on Eatingchile.blogspot.com that it is similar to a Hubbard squash.

 Sopaipillias-- based on recipe from www.allrecipes.com

1/2 a Zapallo squash or Hubbard if you can't find Zapallo
About 5 cups of flour --I used more than the original recipe, but maybe my squash was bigger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
10 T melted butter
oil for frying
Making Sopaipillias

Peel the squash and chop into large chunks.  (This is much more difficult than it sounds!  If you have any squash peeling tricks let me know.  'Cause this step took me about a 1/2 hour)  Once this is done boil squash in a large pot of water, until soft.  Drain and mash.  Add butter.  Mix flour and remaining dry ingredients.
Mix dry ingredients into squash.  Knead until it forms a nice dough consistency, keep adding flour if it is too sticky.  Let rest for about 15 min.  Roll out with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick.  Cut rounds using a circular cookie cutter or the top of a glass.  Put them on a plate and poke with a fork.  Heat oil in a deep frying pan until hot.  Carefully place several rounds into oil and cook until golden brown on each side about 3 minutes.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.  These are best eaten immediately so have your sauce or powdered sugar already prepared and eat them as soon as they have cooled slightly.

I made tomato based sauce called, Chancho en Piedra, to dip the sopaipillias into.

4 tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Chop tomatoes and garlic and place in food processor bowl.  Add olive oil, salt and pepper.  Let sit for 10 min.  Process mixture until a saucy consistency.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

I ran out of time to make Leche Asada a baked milk custard dessert.  That will have to wait until our next adventure with Chilean cuisine.   I want to thank Juraj Vlahovic and Mitzi Chiple for suggesting and finding these recipes for us to enjoy.



  1. Hello! This is Juraj's wife, Mitzi. We are very glad that you liked the food from our home country of Chile! You did a fantastic job with the sopaipillas, chancho en piedra and pastel de choclo! they look so yummy! congrats!

  2. Thanks so much for the recipes! It makes our dinners so much more memorable when the recipes have come from friends.:)

  3. To peel a hard winter squash more easily, I recommend chopping the squash into large chunks, then steaming those chunks, either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Once the chunks are steamed in this way, you can peel them easily.