As the longest country in the world, Chile has many types of geography and climates. Even longer than the coastline is the rich history of traditional and native Chilean food.
Traditional foods almost always utilize the ingredients that are readily available. Even the cookware they use is hand-crafted by native people using natural resources.
An example of this symbiosis is a local variety of potato consumed by the Aymaran indian people of the Andes. The native name for this simple potato is ch’uqui. When translated, it’s one of several Aymaran words for “food.” The rugged and industrious Mapuche indians make extensive use of foraged greens and mushrooms to create dishes that are distinctive and unchanging.
The traditional food of Chile makes extensive use of maiz, a form of corn, and locally-grown cereals and grains. This is why you’ll see many dishes comprised of beans with corn, bean salads and meat dishes that blend chicken, beef or even horse meat with legumes, potatoes and grains. A popular Chilean blended dish is cazuela de ave, a stew of poultry, potatoes, rice, green peppers, onions and various seasonings.
Native Chilean Cookware
Chileans traditionally cook their food in clay cookware. Clay cooking has been a native-American tradition for about 1,200 years. Dishes prepared in clay cookware is more flavorful than conventional cooking methods in metal pots, and doesn’t retain the taste of metal.
Like natural Chilean foods harvested from the earth, clay cookware is crafted from earth. Chilean comfort foods are cooked in clay pots over an open fire or within an Earth Oven burning pit.