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Empanadas are South America's most popular snack food. Each country and region has its own version.
Good morning, <<First Name>>,

I am, as are a lot of Canadians, often guilty of stopping my exploration of Latin American cuisine at the Mexican border. Yet, there is a richness of Latin flavours to explore way south of Mexico in South America.

Peru, unquestionably, holds some gastronomic prowess in South America, as its cuisine is a remarkable reflection of this country’s unique geography. Although a small nation, it borders the Pacific Ocean and is home to mountains draped in cloud cover. The result is an abundance of fresh seafood, often transformed into that country’s signature dish known as ceviche (seafood quickly cured in a combination of lime juice, chilies and cilantro). The cuisine is also rich in beef and chicken dishes enhanced with ample spice, and often served with heritage vegetables like sweet potatoes and corn. While Peru is home to the most famous of South American cuisines, each country brings its own personality to the table. I think of Chile as being a less spicy version of Peruvian cuisine, while Argentina and Brazil’s love affair with beef is widely known. Argentinians love to cook their beef on open fire barbecues, while Brazilians have their Churrascaria cuisine. When served in a restaurant, the latter features a waiter serving grilled meat off a skewer tableside. Yet for all the diversity there are some unifying dishes, like ceviche and empanadas and each country seems to have its own version of mini pastry appetizers. Colombia’s pastel gloria might be my favourite. What's yours? 

Ceviche 

4 Servings
½ lb firm white fish, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 limes, juiced
1 tbsp red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 small red onion, finely sliced
 
Directions: Place fish and lime juice in a glass bowl. Set in refrigerator for 30 minutes — the acid of the citrus will cook the fish. Remove from refrigerator and drain the liquid. Add chilies, garlic and cilantro to bowl and toss. In a separate bowl, combine the microgreens with olive oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Place fish in bowls and garnish with extra cilantro and red onion slices.

 


Chilean Pumpkin Soup
 
1 lb pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cubed
 8 pearl onions, skins removed
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cumin 
2 tbsp olive oil
 2 cups chicken stock 
Pinch salt, pepper 
Cilantro for garnish
 
Directions: Place the cubes of pumpkin in a roasting pan. Add the pearl onions, smoked paprika and cumin; drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Place the pumpkin in an oven pre-heated to 425°F and roast for about 35-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and slightly browned. Add the pumpkin to a blender along with the stock, salt and pepper. Purée until smooth. Heat the soup on a stove top over medium-low heat. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

South American drinks


As for the drinks, South America offers an endless array of wine styles, such as Chile’s vibrant and fresh Sauvignon Blanc and full Chardonnay along with plump and juicy Chilean Merlot and more serious Bordeaux-style blends. Uruguay is known for its Tannat, a bold grape varietal with Southwestern French origins, and Argentina is uber popular for its full-bodied Malbecs. But don’t forget the cocktails. Pisco sours made from a combination of pisco (a grape based spirit), lime juice, simple syrup and egg white) are the classic cocktails of the Pacific coast of nations. In Brazil they love Caipirinha cocktails, which are essentially a pisco sour but in place of the pisco Brazilians use their local cachaça, which is similar to white rum.
See you next week when we'll offer more great food and drink recipes. Until then, keep following your foodie dreams. 


Mark DeWolf
Creative Director, Food & Drink
Mark is a connoisseur of all things food and drink and local fare is his specialty.
Watch Mark whip up seasonal plates in his video series, In a Jiffy, and explore food
trends and kitchen challenges weekly on saltwire.com/food-and-drink. 
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