Category Archives: Chilean

Chilean Squash Casserole

Continuing on with the Chilean thread. This rendition is pretty good. Without the Pebre, the cheddar cheese is a dominant flavor; with the Pebre, I’m thinking it wouldn’t make a difference so next time I’ll swap out the cheese for tofu or maybe Cashew Sour Cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 C Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 C Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 C Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 C Corn Kernels
  • 1 1/2 C Cheddar, grated
  • 4-6 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 Eggs + 2 Egg Whites, beaten
  • 2 T Oil (olive, canola, sunflower – doesn’t matter)
  • 2 t Cumin
  • 1 t Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 t Mild Chili Powder
  • 1 t Cayenne
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Ground Black Pepper
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Prep & Assemble

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Roast flesh side down on a baking pan at 425 for 50 minutes. Remove, cool, then peel off the tough outer casing. Fingers work best here . Put the squash in a bowl and lightly mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon.

While the squash is cooling, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Saute onions until slightly caramelized. Toss in garlic and saute briefly, 1 minute, the add the peppers and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. In one swift move, add the spices (cumin, chili powders, cayenne, salt and pepper), stir to blend for a few minutes then remove from heat. Let cool.

Mix the egg mixture, cheese and corn into the squash with your masher or spoon. When the sauteed veggies are cool, mix those in as well.

Heat oven to 325. Evenly spoon and smooth squash mixture into a large baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes or until the edges start to crisp up.

Delivery

Cool slightly, then partition in 8 meal-sized pieces or 16 sides. Serve with Pebre. This freezes well but I would not microwave the frozen product  (mine turned into squash soup) – defrost in fridge then toss it in the oven to reheat.

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Chilean Pebre

I attempted to do both a squash casserole and the accompanying sauce tonight but only managed to finish the sauce. Probably for the best, there are many ingredients so I’ll do the sauce post tonight and another tomorrow for the casserole.

Inspiration for making this sauce came from my outing to the pan South American restaurant, Andes Cafe. While my meal there was exclusively Peruvian, I went Chilean on my own.

I totally recommend you make a full recipe even though it will make about 3 cups; you will use it on everything. It reminds me of a cilantro based chimichurri. So far I’ve used it on scrambled eggs, corn chips, pasta and a Morningstar Farms burger; great pairing all around! I imagine this is good on grilled meats, particularly chicken.

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  • 1/2 C Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 C Cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 C Onion, minced
  • 1/2 C Red Bell Pepper, minced
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C White Vinegar
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 t Dried Oregano
  • 1 t Red Pepper Flakes

Blend everything together and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.

Pebre featured above in a makeshift snack of scrambled egg with green olive and cheddar, blue corn chips to scoop.

Andes Cafe

I continue to be impressed with Houston’s EaDo neighborhood’s quirky nightlife offerings and counter-culture sentiment. When surveying the choices for Restaurant Weeks I was curious about Andes Cafe not only for their EaDo location but for the fact that they bill themselves as pan South American.

Atmosphere
Located on the ground floor of a building that looks like an adult rehab center, the atmosphere inside is surprisingly lively and colourful. I wasn’t convinced I needed a reservation for this place but did so since our group was large. Glad about that since there were no free tables in the small space from 8-11p. It is loud, densely-packed and given the open kitchen, the smells of grilled meat and corn are in constant pursuit of your attention. I liked it, it reminded me of NYC. Looking for quiet conversation and romance? Keep looking.

Food
The menu annotates the dishes with their country of origin – the majority from Columbia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. I went Restaurant Weeks menu for dinner but back to the regular menu for an additional Peruvian appetizer since it was recommended from a friend who is from Peru. For me, all of the items were a win, however several people were not happy with their grilled meats – too tough and dry. Maybe an artifact of too many patrons, not enough chefs.

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Antichucos: Grilled beef heart kebabs. I think the last time I had organ meat the X Files was still on the air. They were extremely flavourful, mostly picking up garlic, salt and the inherent gaminess of the meat. Served with choclo (big corn kernels) and huacatay sauce (black peppermint).

Causita de Camerones: Potato mash, molded then served with an interesting combination of amarillo aji, olives, shrimp, avocado, queso fresco and a side of mild salsa. The flavours were unexpected but delicious; the experience is up to you and how you decide to mix the potato cake with the other ingredients. The glue here is definitely the amarillo aji sauce; a creamy yellow pepper sauce with a little bit of heat.

Sudado de Pescado: I wasn’t clear what type of fish fillet was used in this stew but its was light and flaky. The stock for the stew was tomato based but with an inherent sweetness, from a good dose of caramelized onion and acidity, from a good dose of fresh lime. I liked. While I didn’t use any of the steamed white rice on the side, it was a nice touch for those wanting a more starchy consistency.

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Drink
Andes does not yet have a liquor license but you can BYOB for the standard corking fee. You could churn butter about EaDo looking for a last minute liquor store to purchase wine – good luck with that – or you could just bring what you have.

Service
There were two guys waiting on 10 tables and about 35 people. That said, service was good. We were not in any hurry anyway. When one from our table complained about the toughness of the meat, that meal was deleted from the bill without further conversation.

Price
Reasonable from what I’ve seen in other comparable South American venues. Small plates, $5-10. Large plates, $10-15.

Dinner: August 2014

Andes Cafe | 2311 Canal | HTX 77003