On Day 8 of funemployment, I mentioned that I made charquicán vegetariano for lunch and that I would be posting the recipe and pictures. Well today is Wednesday and I used to post recipes on Wednesdays…so let’s get down to business!
I am taking these measurements from a Lider Express recipe that I have, however it is all relative to your tastes. I typically throw in more zapallo than I do potatoes, even though the recipe calls for half & half.
Charquicán is typically made with beef, however in my version, I use lentils to represent the ground beef. It is a very typical Chilean dish, served mostly in the winter as it will warm you right up when the temperatures are cold.
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried small brown lentils (depending on how much you like lentils)
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped in cubes
1/2 tsp. paprika
500 grams potatoes, peeled & cubed
500 grams zapallo, peeled & cubed (zapallo is a type of pumpkin widely used in Chile, it looks like the picture here—in any case I think any orange pumpkin would do, just not canned pumpkin)
1 cup frozen peas (optional depending on how much you like or dislike peas such as Christian)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green beans
2 carrots, chopped in small cubes
Merquén (which is a Chilean spice, you could use red pepper flakes in the US)
Salt & pepper
1 cup of the water used to boil the potatoes & zapallo
Parsley for garnish (optional too)
Boil the lentils in abundant water for approximately 20 minutes, or until done. I don’t add salt or any other seasonings. Drain and set aside once they are ready.
In a pan, add the EVOO over medium heat. Add in the onion and sautée for about 2 minutes. Add in the diced garlic and continue to sautée for 1 minute more. Finally, add in the red bell pepper along with some salt & pepper. Continue to cook until the bell pepper has softened. Once it is done, turn off the flame. This is what we will refer to as the pino, which is what it is normally called when it has meat in it for empanadas.
In a large pot, put the potatoes & zapallo to boil in enough water that all the pieces are covered within the pot. Boil over medium heat until you can stick a fork in both the potato and zapallo easily. At this point, add in the carrots, and other frozen vegetables. Boil for at least 5 minutes more so that these vegetables cook. Once they are ready, set aside 1 cup of the boiled water for future use. Drain the rest of the water. Mash the potatoes & zapallo to a chunky consistency. Add in the spices (paprika, salt & pepper, merquén, oregano, & cumin) to taste and mix in the pino. Then add in your lentils to the mixture. I added in the majority and mixed them around and then when I plated the charquicán, I sprinkled some lentils on top. You can also garnish it with parsley on top too.
Serve hot (if need be, reheat the plates in the microwave).