I hope at least some of you have found some time to have a crack at making the last recipe I put on here. In a similar vein, I am sticking with a hispanic comfort foody theme for this second recipe.
I have made this a couple of times now and I have given it my own slight twists in order to bring out some flavours in the dish which I though were the best bits, so before anyone goes shouting at me that it's not truly *authentic* - I know it isn't!! :op
That shouldn't put you guys off though, as stated previously, it's all about picking ideas out and even putting your own take into action on any given recipe and tailor it to your, or whoever you're feeding's pallette.
First, a bit of background on this dish. As the title suggests, it's a South American, specifically Chilean recipe which is taken from a traditional dish of Chile, if not the national dish of the country. It works based on the sweet and salty balance of the various ingredients and contains some unusual ingredients that may raise a few eyebrows amongst more conservative cooks among us.
3 medium red or white onions, chopped,
2 cloves chopped garlic,
700-800g or 1.5 pounds of beef mince,
splash (1 tblspn) of balsamic vinegar,
100ml red wine - preferably chilean, a carmenere maybe!
3 teaspoons cumin,
2 teaspoons salt,
1-2 tsp ground black pepper,
3 cups sweetcorn (fresh or frozen will be fine),
100ml whole milk,
10-15 leaves finely chopped basil,
1 small spring of Thyme,
2-3 heaped tblsp of raisins,
175-200g chopped black olives,
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped,
4 shredded roasted chicken thighs.
What to do:
1. First thing to do is to get the chicken thighs nice and crispy and extract some flavour to go with the beef mince, so add some olive oil to a frying pan and get it fairly hot before adding the four chicken thighs. Cook these through until the skins have gone crispy and golden (Picture 1). Place them onto a plate or a wooden chopping board to rest. Do not discard the oil in the pan as the onions and mince will now be cooked in this.
2. Fry the onions until they are translucent and starting to brown, now add the beef mince and cook through, breaking it up and mixing with the onions as thoroughly as possible (Picture 2), add the black pepper, cumin, two chopped cloves of garlic, raisins and olives once the mince has all browned. fry for another 5 minutes and then add the balsamic vinegar first, then the red wine and simmer until these are reduced by half with the juices from the beef mince.
4. Pour the beef mince, raisins, olives and onions into a casserole dish. On top of the mince, place the chopped hard-boiled eggs. Now you will need to shred the chicken off the bone, the best technique is probably using two forks to pull the chicken off the bone and break it up as much as possible. Place the shredded chicken thighs (without the bones!!) across the beef and eggs and move to one side (Pictures 3 and 4).
6. Transfer the Pastel De Choclo into an oven at gas mark 8 or around 220 degrees celsius. Cook until the crust has gone a golden brown colour, don't be put off by the green tinge given by the basil!! (Picture 5.)
There you have it... it is definitely best served hot on a cold day to provide some comfort. I usually just serve it with some crusty bread or a crunchy side salad to provide some contrast.
As a wine recommendation (for those waiting for one), something Chilean would be spot on, at the moment, Asda are doing a very very affordable Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere called Gran Tierra, it hits the spot and goes pretty well with this dish. The beauty of the Asda stuff is that it's only £4 a bottle at the moment whereas I have seen it in other supermarkets pushing £9. Bargain (at the time of writing the blog that is!!). For me, any decent Carmenere would go well with this dish as it is robust enough to handle the red meat, saltiness and the sweetness of the crust.
Have fun and enjoy guys!!