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Nichol and Matt go to Chile!

Archive for unimarc

Pierogi y El Parque

Hola All,

Yesterday was Dia del Trabajo here in Chile, or Labour Day in May.

It appears that the Chilenos take Labour Day pretty seriously, as even the “Big John” convenience stores and the supermarkets were closed yesterday (FYI, they were open on Easter). We spent the day at El Parque de las Esculturas taking some new pictures with our proper camera (i.e. not the iPod; check out the Pictures section if interested) as well as spending the afternoon/evening engaged in the most labour intensive meal we know: the almighty pierogi (piroghi, pierogy, perogy…we look forward to your e-mails).

As a good Canadian, the humble pierogi is one of Nichol’s favourite foods. Especially made from scratch. Not that she’s above the frozen ones, she’ll just secretly judge you for it as she ‘gags’ them down. Anyway, pierogies, frozen or not, aren’t exactly in abundance here (some may claim that the empanada is Chile’s pierogi, but we digress…). Since it has been a good 3 months since indulging in perfectly-poached-potato-dumpling-paradise, pierogi night (with a Chilean twist) it was.

After Hunky Bill hit the scene, the Canadian Union of Ukrainian Grandmothers simply wasn’t able to compete.

First up was the traditional cheese and potato filled pierogi. We’re not entirely sure how authentic it is, since the recipe is from a Kinette cookbook from the 1970s, but it’s freakin’ yummy. For those of you who are unaware, good cheese (i.e. cheese with any flavour whatsoever) is hard to come by in Chile. When you do find semi-decent cheese, you end up paying a small fortune for it (our 1st, 2nd and 3rd born may or may not be mortgaged to the Cheese Man….). After recently finding the queso mother-load at a Unimarc grocery store in Las Condes, we dropped approximately $80 CAD on cheese in a week and a half. Clearly this isn’t sustainable, thus, we haven’t been back (yet). We’ve been rationing the imported American cheddar, but this was finally used up in our pierogi filling.

Ready for action. Hunky Bill, meet dough. Dough, meet fillings. Fillings, meet ‘rolling pin’. Now that we’re all acquainted…

Since cheese is at a premium, we decided to try a new pierogi filling from ingredients that are readily available: ground beef, merken (a hot and smokey blend of dried and smoked red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin, and salt…that’s merkEN, do NOT google ‘merkin’), quesillo (mild farmer’s cheese), and cilantro. We feel that merken deserves a post of its own and will get one up soon (alas, the quesillo, no). In the end, the cheese potato filling won out, but we enjoyed experimenting with some Chilean ingredients. If you have ideas for other pierogi variations, or any questions/suggestions on Chilean food/ingredients, please let us know!

The finished product: sauteed onion and ham, cheese and sour cream. Oh yeah, there’s pierogies under there too.

-N&M