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During our stay in San Pedro de Atacama (an immense desert),Chile, we stumbled upon this typical Chilean style dish, Cazuela. The staff running our hostel were cooking it up in the kitchen for themselves, but they pointed us in the right direction to experience it at La Deliciosa de Carmen, a great restaurant at which we ended up dining twice.

Cazuela is the name for the pot in which this dish cooks. It’s quite simple; it’s a broth made of boiling meat (bone-in beef, chicken or pork), pumpkin, green beans, carrots, onions and potatoes. Sometimes a little rice is added, along with cilantro or parsley; and during the summer, a little sweet corn on the cob.

All of these ingredients wonderfully meld together to form a mid thick broth which is typically consumed first, leaving the scrumptiously stewed meat and vegetables to savor.  I thought however, that drinking all that broth before even touching the food would leave you quite full! I ate them together instead. And enjoyed it thoroughly. I will say however, it was quite the game trying to cut the meat off the bone and separate the pumpkin from its skin all while floating and flailing in the broth. The table and my shirt were left splattered with juice.

I have estimated that the portion served yielded about 416 calories, 21g protein, 20g fat (most of it saturated, yikes.), 30g carbs, 3g fiber, nearly 15-30% DV for several essential nutrients, 16% DV Iron and 185% DV Vitamin A. Not the least fatty meal ever made, but definitely a delicious one in which to indulge every now and then. There are ways to make this a bit healthier as well:

  • use chicken or turkey instead of beef, and trim away all fat (granted, fat=flavor)
  • use more nutrient dense and less starchy vegetables
  • use quinoa, brown rice or other fiber rich grain instead of white rice

I’m pretty excited to re-create this dish when I get back to the states.

2013-04-05 12.05.52

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