As a child I spent six wonderful years living in Chile. This week Chileans celebrate Dieciocho on the 18th, which commemorates when Chile gained Independence from Spain.
My childhood memories of the Dieciocho holiday involve our family cramming into our little Volkswagen Beetle and driving to the countryside for a long weekend to celebrate with friends. Chilean flag were decorating everything, there were parades and dancing, and we would stop at the roadside to buy empanadas or humitas (steamed packets of corn pudding encased in corn husks), -- this was my absolute favorite food , seconded only by corn on the cob-- imagine my disappointment when we moved back to Germany, where corn is not sweet, and fed to pigs! I missed corn so much that I'd beg my mom to buy baby corn in cans, the only form of corn ever eaten there... but I digress...
Here are some other wonderful foods that I remember from my childhood:
Empanadas, meats fresh off the grill, queso fresco, pastel de Choclo (a meat and corn casserole), porotos granados (Bean-vegetable stew), and dulce chileno (a sweet), and of course lots and lots of seafood, such as congrio and langostinos.
Here are some recipes, most are taken from South American cooking by Barbara Karoff
any good piecrust or flaky pastry (2 c.flour, 1 c lard, salt, icewater)
1/2 # ground beef
olive oil, onions, garlic
3-6 serrano or jalapeno chilies
1 T ground cumin
2 T parsley
2 T cilantro
1/2 c raisins
pimiento-stuffed olives, cut in half
Saute all ingredients (except the olives), let cool.
Roll out approx 20 circles of dough. Place 1/2 olive and spoonful filling. Seal w/ tines of fork.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
Pastel de Choclo
The filling can be either ground beef (similar to empanadas above, with raisins and olives), or chicken, or both.
6 c corn kernels (freshly grated, or frozen kernels processed in food processor)
1/3 c milk
1 t sugar (optional) for sprinkling on top
Bake in a casserole dish, with the topping spread over the meat.
I like to serve this with rice, but potatoes would be authentic too.