Chile’s bid for the world cup is only slightly less hopeless than Australia’s: although they had an excellent run up, the fact that they will have to get past the reigning world champion, Spain, and the runner up of the last world cup, Holland, makes you despair. Nevertheless they are often cited as one of the potential surprise winners. But that’s probably just the Chilean papers.
The most traditional of all Chilean dishes are probably empanadas, but more popular and widely available are chacareros, a type of sandwich that Chileans eat for breakfast, lunch, or any other time they feel a bit peckish. You might think presenting a sandwich as a national dish is a bit cheap, but only the other day a newspaper article in the Chilean internet-based paper El Mostrador sang the praises of this very traditional dish, especially the version created in the famous restaurant Confiteria Torres. To get the idea, here is the little film they included – it’s old men talking about food in Spanish, I know, but you get a lovely glimpse of a very old-fahioned Chilean institution.
Chileans buy these sandwiches – the most famous ones are the chacarero, the barros luco (meat and cheese) and the barros jarpa (ham and cheese) – in schoperías, little corner restaurants. For our home-made version I made flat buns using Marian Blazes‘ marraqueta recipe, but I did not give them the traditional marraqueta shape as we were going to use them for the sandwiches. I have included the recipe at the end but you can use hamburger buns or similar.
- a decent-sized sirloin steak, cut horizontally into shin slices, salted and peppered
- 2 big tomatoes, sliced
- 50g grean beans, cooked and sliced
- 1 avocado, mashed, salted and peppered
- 50g sliced cheddar (optional)
In a frying pan, fry the steak until it is nicely brown. Turn it and put the slices of cheese on top of the meat so it starts to melt.
Cut open the sandwich and spread the avocado on it, followed by the meat with the cheese, the tomatoes and finally the beans. Enjoy with the morst traditional of all Chilean beverages, a coke.
Marraquetas, or French-style bread (makes 8)
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 cups white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sourdough starter (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons salt
I mixed the ingredients together, kneaded them very vigorously for ten minutes as instructed by Marian, and left the dough to rise for about 2 hours. Heat the oven to 250C and leave an ovenproof dish filled with water at the bottom. Once the dough has doubled in size you form 8 balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten the balls to circles of ca. 10 cm diameter, which you place on a piece of baking parchment. Score them once diagonally and let them rest for another 5 minutes before placing them in the hot oven. Bake at 230C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Check out Marian’s website if you want to give them the traditional ‘marraqueta’ shape for breakfast.