For no apparent reason, other than it is the first week of August, I’m dedicating this week’s meal plan to Chile. It is a land of immense deep history and colorful flavors.
People who know me and have read my stories will know that my beautiful wife is from Chile. She often speaks of the excellent dishes and flavors from her birth country, one of the longest countries in the World.
She rarely (never) cooks any of these memorable meals except for some empanadas based on her mum’s recipe when we went on road trips while living in Ireland.
It is time for me to test my skills and impress the South American flower.
Hopefully, I’ll make my wife proud and can provide her with some culinary journey back to her birth country.
Let’s dance on the land of Chile
Lovely as Rachel, as Leah,
the land that breeds a people
sweet of heart and speech
The greenest land witg gardens,
the fairest land with wheat,
the reddest land with vineyards,
the gentlest to our feet!Gabriela Mistral – 1889-1957
The Chilean Connection
Chile has been settled for over 10,000 years, with influences from ancient kingdoms like Inca, Maya, and Aztecs. However, the original Chilean people were never as organized and consistent as many smaller tribes. Instead, they fought back fiercely against invading nations and kingdoms; even the Spanish were pushed back bravely but lost in the end.
Chile was discovered in the early to mid-1500s by the Spanish, Valdivia, who quickly claimed it. Valdivia was killed by another Spanish guy who switched sides and saw the Spanish conquerors as evil. According to myths and stories, Valdivia joined the afterlife by being forced to drink molten gold. Evil feckers!
Chile spent the next 300 years on Spanish rule until a wealthy landowner with Spanish-Basque and Irish ancestry. Basque-Irish, a combination of a fighting spirit, rejects any authority from outsiders. His name was Bernardo O’Higgins, and he had Sligo roots.
Mr. O’Higgins assembled a small army, started the Chilean war of Independence, and succeeded in his quest. The war began in 1817. It took less than a year to claim victory, and O’Higgins became the first ruler of Chile.
Did you know this about Chile?
- The longest swimming pool in World was in San Alfonso del Mar from 2006-2015 when an even larger pool in Egypt beat it.
- Six of the UNESCO Heritage Sites are in Chile;
- It has more than 2900 active volcanoes and also the most earthquakes
- Owns the Easter islands, which used to be a sheep farm and managed by the Chilean navy
- It is the eighth largest wine producer in the World
- For thousands of years, Quinoa has been a dietary staple
Chilean Food Adventure
Given Chile’s extended coastline, it is logical that seafood plays an integral part in the Chilean kitchen and is mixed with excellent products from a deep history of agriculture.
The Spanish brought livestock and wine to the remote region, enhancing and influencing the Chilean cuisine.
Stews play a vital role in the kitchen, and everything from vegetables to meat to poultry to seafood gets put into a rich stew with potatoes and served with bread.
Going back to Chile
I cannot wait until we visit Chile in 2023 to celebrate my wife’s 50th birthday. But unfortunately, she has not returned since her family left under challenging circumstances in 1973.
There is so much to experience in the long land of Chile. I’ve always dreamt of walking next to the giant heads on the Easter Islands.
Imagine walking through the colorful town of Valparaiso, hiking in the desert and mountains, witnessing the fantastic landscapes, and eating all kinds of rich vegetables with beautiful fish caught by the locals.
It will be fantastic to see Santiago, where my wife was born, and perhaps trace down some of her relatives that stayed through the bad times of Pinochet’s regime.
Sit in the famous square while drinking locally-made wines, while we explore the historical sites, meet people, and learn new things.
We miss traveling the World, and this will be an excellent way to get back to see the World.
The Chilean kitchen – my way
As previously stated, the theme of the week is the Chilean kitchen.
To prepare authentic Chilean meals, I invested in a new cookbook called “The Chilean Kitchen” by Pilar Hernandez. Many mouth-watering recipes with straightforward instructions.
What could go wrong?
For obvious reasons, I will not be able to source too many products from the rich agricultural fields or the seafood from the South Pacific ocean. However, I hope our local supermarket can offer some suitable vegetables and meat.
Tomatoes, onions, and cumin appear in most dishes for some reason.
Cooking all these dishes on a warm Sunday afternoon made me very hungry. I can’t wait to test these recipes and hope the family will enjoy the new flavors.
I include a few snacks for the kids to spice up their lunch boxes and hope they turn out well. To test my baking skills, I’m attempting to make Pan de Huevo (egg buns) and Queque de Higos (fig bundt cake). I’ll let you know how it goes.
|Monday||Sandwich de Miga ave pimentón|
|Tallarines con Palta|
(Noodles with avocado pesto)
|Tuesday||Sandwich de Miga pasta de jamon|
(tomato, onion, and steak)
(farmer steak sandwich)
(stuffed eggplants with ground beef)
|Thursday||Empanadas de Pino|
|Picante de Camarones|
(tomato shrimp stew)
|Friday||Empanadas de Pino|
|Grilling some Chilean-inspired meat|
One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!
Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.
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