Charquicán is a very seasonal dish in Chile. I mean, if it’s summer and in-season green beans, peas, corn are added. Same with other vegetables. It is still cooked with pumpkin and the always faithful potatoes if it is winter.
The name derives from the use of jerky in the preparation. Charqui (jerky) is any smoked and dried meat. It could be horse jerky, beef, or even fish. Before refrigerators were popular, this is how meat was preserved. Now, it is more common to make it with fresh meat, but the name remains.
Tips for a delicious Charquicán:
I live in the US. What pumpkin can I use in the charquicán?
I use half and half butternut and canned pumpkin. The kabocha, turban, and Hubbard are similar to the Chilean, but they are not easy to get. In farmer markets, you have more options. And in Latin or Asian supermarkets you find varieties more similar to Chilean.
How do I make charquicán with charqui?
Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Place the charqui distributed in an oven tin. Cook 15 minutes. Take out of the oven. When you can touch it, crumble and throw away any tough piece. Chop the rest finely. Add the meat to the recipe in the same step, but do not brown. Note: There are many types of jerky, some are very salty, and you have to wash them before putting them in the oven.
What potatoes do you recommend in US?
Any potato works, but if I can choose I prefer using red potatoes.
Can I make it with other meats or without?
Absolutely, you can use ground chicken or turkey. Or lamb in small cubes. In Chile a common vegetarian version of charquicán is made with Cochayuyo, our local seaweed. Now available in the US.
You may also be interested in the recipe: Chilean Beef StewPrint
One of the oldest Chilean dishes on record.
- 1 small yellow onion, diced small
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cups (1/2 pound) of winter squash (kabocha, butternut, or similar), peeled, cubed
- 5 red potatoes, peeled, cubed
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- pinch of cumin
- 2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup each corn, green peas, or green beans (frozen is fine)
- salt, pepper, oil
- 6 eggs, to serve, optional
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, put one tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes, until soft.
- Add the meat and saute for 6 minutes.
- Add the squash, potatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Stir. Add the broth and cook cover for 15 minutes, simmering. Reduce the heat if need it.
- With a fork, mash the potatoes and squash.
- Add corn, peas, and green beans. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until hot.
- Fried the eggs if using.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot with a fried egg on top.
Keywords: Chilean Charquican