Saturday, January 9, 2010

Porotos Granados! A vegetarian Chilean feast in pictures

If you are not, at this very second eating a hearty earthenware bowl full of the homey creamy Chilean potage, porotos granados, well then, I weep for you. Unless you are drinking a glass (yes, a glass, they're bigger) of iced coffee with cold-frothed milk, in which case I raise mine to you as well, and will weep for you later.

Porotos granados
are vegetarian, vegan, even! No meat, no milk, no egg, no honey, no dead insects (we hope), no sneaky pork knuckle waving hello at the bottom. Kosher I tell you, kosher!

Like many Chilean foods, this one is a carb-loading bomb, and a delicious carbloading bomb that you will be happy to gobble down in spite of the wildly illogical problem that most of the ingredients are available only in the summer, when really, you should be eating cherimoyas and nothing but.

Porotos Grandados!

You're going to need:

a boatload of cranberry beans (porotos granados)

Which you can shell yourself


Or goad some friends into shelling with you

(hey guys!)

An onion, cut in this very strange way which involves a collander and running water, and tiny little mincing cuts all throughout the onion. I have never seen this done before and am not easily convinced, but hey, it was C's house, and he can do whatever he wants.


Squash, cut into cubes


Corn, de-cobbed and ground in a food processor, or grated on a traditional grater, which I think gives a better texture, but makes a giant mess and never yeilds as much as this method.


Garlic. Again, go C with your grandma-esque cutting style. Me? I prefer a cutting board.



Aliño completo (seasoning mix), that mysterious condiment based on cumin and who knows what else, that shows up in a ton of Chilean cooking. I don't have any, and this, along with not having dried oregano, marks me as a philistine among Chilean cooks. It does not have MSG in it, if you're sensitive to that kind of thing.


And, of course, a pressure cooker


This is the basic idea. Oil in the pan, cook onion and garlic, add mystery aliño, water, beans, squash. Pressure cook quickly, or don't. Add corn towards the end or you will be a slave to the stirring, because it sticks easily. It's a pretty flexible, country-type recipe, so do what you like! I used to whir the finished soup, but have since decided it's better to only grate the corn (mess excepted).

Recipes you can find here or here (in English, but tomatoes? no!)

C whirs the basil in with the corn, but I prefer mine in tiny pieces sprinkled on top.

I think this is one of few foods I would never tire of. I made a giant pot of it at the beginning of the week, and happily chowed down on it for lunch nearly every day. Creamy and perfect. I eat it with a lot of pepper, and more salt than I probably should.

And if you think you're having some kind of flashback, it's true, I talked about this at least once before, but that time I bought most of it pre-made. I have seen the error of my ways, and also learned to shell beans more easily.

And if you're too lazy for even that, a reccomendation for Galindo in Barrio Bellavista (not far from Baquedano metro, on the way to Cerro San Cristobal, feet from the Patio Bellavista, near La Chascona, tasty and cheap, at the corner of Constitución (runs parallel to Pio Nono) and D'ardignac.

Buen provecho! Now where's my second cup of coffee?


Margaret said...

Yummy! I'm not all that into beans, but this dish is hard to pass up... and it's my husband's favorite dish in the whole world.
We don't use the mystery aliño in our house (it's been banned) because there's something in it that I just can't stand (I think it's the powdered oregano)...
I'll also skip the iced coffee (prefer mine hot) in favor of a nice glass of wine- just a good, classic Chilean red like Santa Rita 120 3-medallas or Carmen Margaux... and a long nap afterwards, of course!

Eileen said...

Yeah, I could do without the aliño, and I don't really feel it adds anything, but far be it from me to complain when someone else is doing all the prep work! Thanks for recommending wine pairings, goodness knows that's your expertise, not mine!

I wasn't going to drink the wine with the stew, it was just morning as I was writing this! (as if I don't drink coffee all day long...)

julie said...

Yum! Best porotos I had in Santiago? Mestizo.
Love the photos, too.

Kristin said...

Yay! It's so nice to see entries about great veg food! I'm planning a Spanish study course probably in Argentina and I've been a little worried about not finding much vegetarian food. Great entry!~

Annje said...

We love these too, though here I make them with frozen baby lima beans--which is so time-efficient.

What is it about not using a cutting board? My hubs always cuts on a plate, which leaves marks and makes an irritating squeaky kind of sound.

Abby said...

Porotos granados is my favorite! Maybe I'll attempt it sometime this summer. Great photos and post!

Betsy Longstocking said...

VIVA POROTOS GRANADOS! My suegra recently gave me this recipe and I'm excited to try it (gotta let her know that her son will be well-fed on wholesome Chilean food). According to her, there are 2 types: porotos con mazamorra (your recipe, I believe) and porotos con pilco (just the beans with a mere sprinkling of chunky corn loveliness). Sigh. Chile. You change a single ingredient and the whole dish gets an entirely new name...

Still Life in Southeast Asia said...

This dish has been on my "to-cook" list for a while now. I should have made it while I was there to take advantage of those beautiful, fresh beans. Cooking with C. looks fun.

Eileen said...

Julie, thanks for commenting! I didn't know that Mestizo even served them, but to me this is a homey food, if I want to eat it, I'd make it rather than seek it out. But clearly the traveling set has better things to do!

Kristin, I don't know where you're studying in Argentina, but veggie food outside of the house can be challenting, but not impossible. There's the layered torta, for example (like an eggless quiche served in a pie crust, my favorite is squash, spinach and ricotta). Thanks for dropping by!

Annje, frozen lima beans! What a great idea! And not far off the mark, I'd think. Certainly closer than cannelini or any of those mushy beans. I bet it would work with edamame as well (though would be greener and pricier, probably).

Abby, they're amazing! Not too hard, either, though like all of those hearty dishes that come up in the summer, I think this would be a better wintertime dish!

Betsy, thanks for dropping by! Con mazamorra it is. I think the pilco ones are a giant waste of food, being very pro-creamy, hearty foods, but to each his own. And laughing about how if you change one ingredient it gets a whole new name. Chileans must have the most sensitive palate/naming conventions in the world!

Still Life, now that you're in Thailand, I'm afraid you'll have to take advantage of what you have on hand, poor thing! Hope you can find a fish-free existence over there! Glad to see you back!

Fly Girl said...

Beans are not my favorite, lentils are the only kind that I truly love but I'd love to try this dish. I especially like the beautiful color of the beans,it worth a try for aesthetics alone!

Eileen said...

If someone gets a suite with a kitchen in NY, I'll see what I can do at TBEX (that is hilarious, who would get a suite with a kitchen?, you'll just have to come down to South America some summer!) Are you presenting again?

Real Chile said...

I also am a big fan of porotos granados. Does anybody know how to get these beans in the US or what their English name is?

I wanted to make them for my parents while I was in the US but didn't have any luck finding the beans.


Real Chile said...

Now that I read the post more carefully it looks like you call them cranberry beans. Are you sure that is what they are called? I trust you if you are sure.

Eileen said...

Real Chile, thanks for commenting. They're called cranberry beans in the states, but I have no idea where to get them. I have never seen fresh beans other than habas (fava beans) in the states. Annje makes porotos granados with frozen limas, and I think edamame might work, too. Good luck finding a replacement when for your stateside cooking adventures!

dining tables said...

That looks so yummy. The name Porotos Granados is a very interesting name. I think that is a good dish. I really need to try that. I love all the photos that you post.

Wall Mirrors Gal said...

This Porotos Granados recipe looks wonderful, but I'm not sure what I can get the cranberry beans. Maybe I can just substitute!