Chiloé – Curanto & Cazuela

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for the original post, and here for photos of there.

While I was enticed to Chiloé by the folklore, Damien was undoubtedly drawn by the promise of seafood.  Once we settle ourselves into our palafito in Castro, we set off in search of our local pescadería (fish market). A pelican stands guard on the rooftop and a sealion awaits beneath the stilts as we try to decide what to taste.


Laughing at our indecision, a pair of one-eyed fishermen offer us samples of their sea urchins.  They refuse to take our money and, giggling, try to shock us by popping tiny live crabs into their mouths, crunching loudly. We feast on a lunch of sea-fresh urchins, clams and ceviche (a mixture of raw salmon, onion, coriander, chili and lemon juice).

Erizos de mar

Erizos de mar

That night, curanto is on the menu. The word cuanto comes from kurantu meaning “stony ground” in the Mapuche language. Traditionally, it is a feast of potatoes, ham, pork, lamb, and shellfish, all wrapped in nalca leaves. It cooks for hours buried with hot stones in a pit dug in the sand. Curanto is the local delicacy and Damien declares himself a fan.



I discover my favourite Chilote meal at the Sunday market in Dalcahue. Behind the traditional wool market, the famed cocineria number 8 cooks up a storm with fabulous empanadas and a truly delicious lamb and seaweed stew. I can’t resist hunting down the recipe to try out when I get home.

The famous cocineria number 8 in Dalcahue

The famous cocineria number 8 in Dalcahue

Chilote Lamb and Seaweed Stew (Cazuela de Cordero con Luche)

Serves 6


600g neck of lamb, cut into pieces
20g dried seaweed/150g fresh seaweed
400g potatoes, cubed
200g pumpkin, cubed
50g peas
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 tblsp rice
2 cloves garlic
20g oregano
20g parsley
10g merkén/smoked paprika
Salt and black pepper


1. Prepare the dried seaweed by cutting it into short lengths. Put into a large bowl and add water. Leave to soak for a couple of hours. Then rinse and wipe, piece by piece. Set aside.
2. Fry onion, garlic and lamb until lightly browned. Add merkén and black pepper.
3. Add carrots. Add enough cold water to cover lamb by a few centimetres. Simmer.
4. Remove any scum that rises to the top. Once all the scum is removed, cover the pan. Cook for 1½-2 hours, or until the meat is tender.
5. Add the potatoes and pumpkin and rice. Add more boiling water, if necessary. Cook for a further 15-20 mins.
6. When the potatoes are cooked, lower the heat and add the seaweed and peas.
7. Semi-cover and bring to the boil.
8. Turn off heat and allow the stew to stand for a few minutes.
9. Add parsley, merkén and coriander to taste.
10. Serve steaming with fresh potato bread.

Delicious Lamb and Seaweed soup (Cazuela de cordero con luche)

Delicious Lamb and Seaweed soup (Cazuela de cordero con luche)


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