#12 Chile: Vegetarian Charquican

Charquican chile-flag

When it’s cold outside you can’t beat coming indoors to enjoy comfort foods like mashed potato and squash, and the gentle warmth that comes through a dish that uses just the right amount of chilli. This vegetarian version of Charquican (a Chilean beef stew that is slow-cooked with beef and potatoes) does just that.

This recipe has the added advantage of being very easy to make, which was just what I needed with so much else to do in the run up to Christmas! It also has great natural flavour from the vegetables, which are not overwhelmed by the spices, and is definitely recommended with fried eggs.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium potatoes (450g) diced
  • 1/2 large butternut squash (450g) diced
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • Knob of butter
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 110g frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 heaped tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • handful of fresh chopped coriander
  • 2 red onions, chopped (fine to medium)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 200g green beans, sliced into 1cm pieces

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes, butternut squash and carrots in salted water until soft.
  2. Drain and then mash the vegetables together with a knob of butter, a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of ground black pepper, aiming for a consistency that is still a little rough rather than completely smooth.
  3. Fry the red onion, garlic and red pepper in olive oil until they start to soften.
  4. Add the chopped beans and frozen sweetcorn and saute for a further few minutes, before adding the chopped tomato and coriander.
  5. Stir in the cumin, paprika, chilli and oregano to coat the vegetables in the spices.
  6. Gently simmer for a few more minutes, before adding the potato, squash and carrot mash to the pan and mixing together well.
  7. Serve immediately accompanied by a fried egg, with chopped parsley and sliced spring onions sprinkled on top.

Acknowledgement: This recipe is slightly adapted from one I found on the Wanderlust magazine web site.

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#11 Jamaica: Veggie Jamaican patties

Jamaican patties Flag_of_Jamaica.svg

I love Jamaican patties, but never imagined that I would be eating them homemade after cooking them in my own kitchen.  Basically I don’t do pastry cooking; never have.  But in the spirit of adventure that this blog has given me, not to mention a new-found confidence in my cooking abilities, I decided to give it go.

Happily it all worked out surprisingly well and these spicy Caribbean bad boys were every bit as tasty as they look in the pic.  The only minor hiccup was realising at the point of needing to roll out the dough that I don’t actually own a rolling pin – like I said I don’t do pastry cooking – but luckily my neighbour Anya came to the rescue.

Quite a lot of preparation time was required for this compared to some of the other recipes I have tried, but it was definitely worth it for the satisfaction of making a successful pastry and for the fact that the patties tasted really great too!

Ingredients (makes 6-7 patties)

Filling

  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes (diced into small pieces)
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • ½ medium cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli (finely chopped)
  • 2 heaped tsp All Purpose Caribbean seasoning (I used Dunn’s River)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika

Pastry

  • 500g flour
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • A pinch of salt
  • 125g butter (frozen in freezer beforehand)
  • 300ml cold water

Method

Filling

  1. Boil the diced sweet potato pieces until almost tender, before removing from the pan and leaving to one side.
  2. In a large pan sauté the onions in a little oil for a few minutes, add the garlic, and continue to fry until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add the cabbage to the pan and continue to cook gently for 3-5 more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the scotch bonnet, Caribbean seasoning, thyme and paprika and stir well.  Continue to cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Finally, add the cooked sweet potato and stir into the mixture. Take the patty mixture off the heat and leave to cool while you make the pastry.

Pastry

  1. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and turmeric.
  2. Grate the frozen butter into the flour and mix in with your fingers.
  3. Add the cold water and knead to make dough.

Making the patties

  1. Roll out pieces of the pastry onto a floured board. Once nice and flat get a small saucer and place on the dough and cut around to create a circle shape.
  2. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling into half the circle. Fold the other half of the circle over and press the joined edges together with the tip of a table knife or a fork.
  3. Prick the patties with a fork 2 to 3 times and cook for 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Acknowledgement: I took a meat-based Jamaican patty recipe on allrecipes.co.uk as my starting point for this and then made it my own 🙂