The Curanto is a traditional dish from the south of Chile, and a real feast of seafood and meats. Prepared traditionally in the island of Chiloé, Curantos are widely spread in the Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia.
There are two versions of this preparation: the Curanto al Hoyo, cooked in a deep hole digged in the soil on hot stones and then covered in Nalca leaves, and the Curanto a la Olla, or Pulmay, that is basically the same preparation of Curanto, but cooked in a pan.
I want to share with you my Aunt Eli’s recipe of the Curanto a la Olla, one of my personal favorites. This is an easy homemade version of the traditional Curanto, and a perfect dish for a cold day.
The more traditional preparations include Chapalele, a flour and potato dough similar to gnocchi. This ingredient is optional, but it adds a more rich texture to the Curanto.
For the Sofrito (Chilean stir-fry sauce):
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Curanto:
- 2 pounds of mussels
- 2 pounds of clams
- 2 pounds of shrimps
- 2 pounds of large mussels
- 1 pound of chorizo sausages
- 2 large sausages
- 1 pound of chicken
- 1 rack of smoked pork ribs
- 16 fl oz of beef broth
- 1 bottle of white wine
- 6 potatoes
- 1 cabbage
For the Chapalele: (optional)
- 4 pounds of potatoes
- 1 pound of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Salt to taste
In a large cooking pot, prepare the sofrito or sauté. Mix oil, minced garlic, the onions chopped into squares, and the bell pepper chopped into small chunks.
Stir-fry the ingredients, season to taste, and set aside.
For the Chapaleles: (optional) Boil the already peeled potatoes in boiling water, until soft. Smash the potatoes and add the flour, salt and butter. Mix with your hands until the dough is not sticky anymore. When it becomes soft, make balls, and squash to get doughs the size of a tea plate.
Place the pork ribs with the beef broth in another pan, and turn off the heat when it starts boiling.
Add the ribs and the beef broth to the sofrito base. Then add the chicken, chorizo sausages, large sausages, and potatoes. Cover everything with a couple of cabbage leaves, and add on top of that the shrimps, mussels, large mussels, and clams. Pour in the bottle of white wine and cover with several layers of cabbage leaves. If you want to add chapaleles, place them on top of the leaves.
Put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.
Serve hot, ideally in individual clay bowls.