Chilean empanada

Fabulous South American Food #2

MERKÉN

(NOT to be confused with our pubic wig friend, the merkin!!)

Thank you dioses de la cocina for merkén, a wonderous mix of dried ají (general term for chilli family) and other exotic substances. Used for zinging up almost anything, I give it permission to be ever present during this trip.

* Drink remix: Beer (summery, maybe Corona) mixed with freshly squeezed lemon, served in a tall glass with a combination of salt and merkén adorning the edge of the glass, margarita style.  (México can claim credit for this gift to the world, as it can for so much else.)

EMPANADAS

I thought I would be sick of these by the end of day one, but they just keep getting better…and if not scoffed tooooo often, remain amazing with a capital A. (They also take after our friend pizza by being even more ridiculously flavoursome as the next day’s breakfast.  A friend for students and teenage boys alike.)

They are easy peasy to make, but require a veritable production line of helpers to knead, roll and cut the pastry (if being rad and making from scratch), make the filling and scoop it inside before carefully sealing and delicately pinching (or violently molesting it, like I tended to accidentally do).

* Winning fillings: classic pino (minced meat and spices with a bit of boiled egg and one or two whole good green olives) and carapacho (crab and cheesy awesomeness) and mariscos (various shell fish all cooked into a delicious oblivion).

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