Monday, January 17, 2005


Cazuela de Ave

One afternoon while we were staying in the town of Puerto Varas in Southern Chile, we took a ride through the lake dotted country-side, past salmon farms and an active volcano, until we came upon the home of a woman who had agreed to make us a typical rural Chilean lunch. It was incredible. They first served us and chicha, an extremely strong home-made fermented grape drink that looks like apple cider and tastes, honestly, like dirt. (Colin points out that Chicha resembles a British drink called “scrumpy.” Since I’ve never had that, I can’t say, but he thinks it is useful to explain the beverage, and he is sounded so cute saying scrumpy, how can I resist) Then we had the most delicious CAZUELA DE AVE, (chicken soup,) made from her own (free range) chickens, that was fantastically yellow and as heady and delicious as you could hope for on a chilly afternoon. The potatoes in the soup had come from our hostesses own garden, and the final course, a spit roasted lamb, had also come from her land. To roast the lamb, they used no seasoning, just the smoke of the fire. It was tender and succulent and an amazing treat. Here is her recipe for the soup. It is very basic and simple, since the only ingredients were things from her farm. Try it and enjoy.

2 free range Chickens cut into leg, thigh, breast and wing pieces, skin on
2 quarts chicken broth (or, in the case of the original recipe, glacier water)
1 Tablespoon salt
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon cumin
6 medium (Burbank or Idaho) potatoes, peeled and quartered, then boiled in salted water
2 Jalapeno chiles, chopped (they don’t use jalapenos in Chile, but since we cannot get the peppers they do use, this will work)

In a large pot, combine everything but the potatoes and allow to simmer for 2 hours or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat for about 15 minutes to allow the fat to rise to the top, skim it off as best you can. Add the potatoes to the soup and return to the heat to cook until they are heated through. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste, then serve with hot sauce.

Some of the amazing places we visited were the Hotel Peulla
in the Perez Rosales National Park

The Kenton Palace Hotel in Bariloche, Argentina

And Del Lagos Cabanas in Porto Varas, Chile.

Each and every one of the places we visited took my breath away.
The people are so kind, the scenery beyond compare, and the dollar
is still strong there. I highly recommend visiting if you ever get a chance.

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