We have had the most wonderful day at our Chilean cooking class. This was recommended by a friend who lived in Santiago last year and it was an awesome day.
We met our chef Matias in the Mercado Central at 10 am this morning so we could go to the markets to get some fresh produce to cook today. What a great way to experience the traditional Chilean way of life. We visited 4 different markets, including a fish market, flower market, meat market and one with fruits and vegetables. Each was a flurry of activity and we seemed to always be in the way but it is the chaos I love. Matias pointed out products that might be different than ones we get home and explained how they are used in Chilean cuisine. We met one man who has been running his fruit and vegetable booth for 68 years and he is now 82 years old. He was lovely. We learned how the cuisine was changing with Peruvian influence from the many immigrants.
Lots of manual labor in these markets.
The kids got a kick out of this booth. Can you guess what they are selling?
From there we took two taxis to Uncorked’s super clean and organized kitchen we were started in on our amazing menu. There was one addition since Sherry could not eat the empanadas. We made a dish that was similar to a Sheppard’s Pie but contained chicken, beef and a topping of a sweet corn mash.
We first learned to make the salsa that is served in every restaurant and then served them up with a pumpkin bread. Yum.
Next were the Pisco Sours. We had a demo and then each of us made our own drink. It was important to be sure the kids learned how to make them because each drink contains 3 ounces of Picso (35% alcohol) and after one, you are half cut and will not be able to make a second but will be desperate for another. They did a great job.
Next was dessert. We had to get them cooked early. I can’t believe flan is so easy to make. I remember having these when mom’s Pilipino friends would make them. Another carry over from the Spanish. I will be making this soon.
We mixed up the beef and chicken for the pies and empanadas. We took a little break to try a white Chilean wine, a sauvignon blanc. Quite good considering I don’t usually like white. After Matias made the dough we all learned to roll out and form the empanadas. This was great fun and Tony, Ellen and Isaac took the lead. I sipped the wine even though I was still feeling the effects of the Pisco Sours. Perhaps that’s why I forgot to remove the seeds from my olives when I put them in my empanadas. And maybe that is why my empanadas had holes. But I was having fun.
Our last, and my favorite dish was the ceviche. I love ceviche and eat it whenever I see it in my travels. It is a very fresh tasting dish made from raw fish, citrus, onion and herbs. The citrus prevents any bacteria from growing on the fish and it actually tastes cooked. Today’s variety also had avocado. Yum!
Next we moved on to tasting the red wine and eating our fantastic meal. Each of us plated our own dishes and we enjoyed great conversation and laughs through the meal. Matias was a wealth of information and made us feel like we were at home with friends. There was no shortage of food or wine and everything was delicious. We also had the help of a local lady, Kristy, who was cleaning up behind us every step of the way. We all agreed this was a trip highlight and can't wait to try the recipes at home.
I love the quote that was in the kitchen. Enjoying local cuisine is such a great way to understand the culture in a new country.
It was a full day and with our bellies full, we made our way back to the hotel, stopping to buy some Pisco on the way. We figured we would take some time to relax and pack up since we leave tomorrow evening. It is hard to believe it has been two weeks today since we left home. It has been an excellent adventure with amazing weather. It is fall here but every day has been sunny. In Santiago, the days have been much like our summer back home. The days start out at about 10 degrees put peak between 4pm and 5pm at 30 degrees.
Not sure what we will do tomorrow. We may relax by the pool but Sherry is working hard to find a more active plan.
If you curious about the Pisco Sour, here's what I learned on the internet.
Chilean wine is famous the world over, but in the fertile northern valleys of the country, you’ll see wide green areas planted with grapes for making pisco, a grape-based distilled alcohol that varies from 30-43 % alcohol. But most importantly, where there’s pisco, you’ll find the tart, refreshing pisco sour.
The Chilean pisco sour (Peru has a version as well) is a mix of juice from the small lemons called limon de pica (key limes might make a good substitute if you can’t get this fruit at home), a few fingers of pisco, powdered sugar to taste and ice. Some versions also have a bit of raw egg white (which gives it a nice froth on top), simple syrup instead of powdered sugar, and Angostura bitters on top. The drink is blended or stirred well, poured into tall, narrow glasses.