One of the things I love about globe-cooking is reading through a really exotic-sounding recipe from a far-flung country and realising it's very similar to something traditional that you often tuck into already. That was the case with Charquican from the Chile-themed Kitchen Trotter Box. It's basically a tweaked version of cottage pie or corned beef hash, with a few surprising ingredients like beef jerky (biltong), white wine and Mapuche chilli.
These are the two required ingredients from the box - some biltong and some Mapuche Indians' Spice Blend, which is a ubiquitous spice in Chile with a wonderful smokiness mixed in with the chilli heat.
Here's my version. It packs in loads of veggies too - perfect family-friendly comfort food.
300g pumpkin/butternut squash (or I used 2 sweet potatoes)
a splash of milk
a knob of butter
salt and pepper
500g minced beef
2 large cloves of garlic
cumin/oregano/Mapuche chilli to taste
150ml white wine
1 cup sweetcorn
1 cup peas
1 fried egg per person
Peel the sweet potato but don't bother peeling the potatoes. Chop into large chunks and boil in salted water until soft (about 20-25 minutes).
Meanwhile peel and chop the onion and garlic and gently fry in a drizzle of olive oil.
Add the minced beef and the herbs and spices and fry until cooked through, then add the spoonful of sugar and allow to caramelise slightly.
Add the peas and sweetcorn (frozen are fine) then the white wine and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
Drain the potatoes/sweet potatoes and mash them, adding a knob of butter and a splash of milk. Mix in the biltong and season to taste with salt and pepper.
When the meat is ready, mix in the mash.
Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper and Mapuche chilli if desired.
Top with a fried egg. (I've come to the conclusion that South American food always comes with a fried egg on top !)
This was utterly delicious and so simple to put together. You could easily make this with just store cupboard basics if you leave out the biltong and Mapuche spices. I'll definitely be making this again, particularly during the autumn and winter when the weather turns chilly. Chile food for chilly weather - no pun intended !
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