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.
You’re going to need:
Which you can shell yourself
Or goad some friends into shelling with you
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).
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?