Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Still Down South of the Border

South American cuisine is as vast and varied as the continent itself. The mountains, coastal regions, tropics, and lush grasslands all play a role in shaping each nation’s traditional dishes. Potatoes and quinoa originated in Peru, while Ecuador lays claim to the popular ceviche fish recipe. From the arepas (cornmeal cakes) of Venezuela to the coconuts, mango, and guava of the rainforests to Uruguayan barbecue (asado) and Argentina's stuffed beef dish matambre, South American cuisine features a wide variety of ingredients and dishes, robustly flavored, both simple and complex.

Chilean Corn Pie with Beef, Potatoes and Spicy “Pebre” Sauce

Chilean corn pie, or "pastel de choclo," combines savory meat and vegetables in a hearty, flavorful dish. Spicy pebre sauce adds kick to the casserole.
Chile’s pastel de choclo, or corn pie, is a hearty casserole often made with both beef and chicken. Other common ingredients include onions, raisins, olives, eggs, and, of course, corn. This recipe also includes diced potatoes to add a bit more body to the filling.
Pebre is Chile’s popular spicy green condiment made with hot chiles and cilantro. It’s similar to Argentina’s chimichurri sauce, only hotter. Pastel de choclo is not typically served with pebre, but this recipe uses the sauce to add a little spiciness to the savory meat and vegetables.

For the Pebre
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
4-5 hot green chiles, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil
For the Corn Pie
16 oz. frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. milk
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and small-diced
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 c. chopped green olives
1/4 c. raisins
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced
For the Pebre
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour.
For the Corn Pie
Preheat the oven to 350.
Grind the corn in a food processor to form a thick paste.
Heat a medium skillet over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the corn paste and milk to the skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook slowly, stirring until hot and creamy, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Heat a heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry until tender and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
To the same skillet, add the ground beef, onion, olives, raisins, cumin, and oregano. Stir well to combine and cook until the beef is cooked through and most of the juices have been absorbed, 5-6 minutes.
Return the potatoes to the skillet and stir to combine. Remove the skillet from the heat and lay the egg slices on top of the beef mixture in a single layer. Spread the corn mixture over the meat and eggs to cover completely.
Bake uncovered 12 minutes.
Let the pie rest 3 minutes. Slice into 4 (loose) wedges and serve with pebre drizzled on top, or serve the sauce on the side at the table.

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