Chile: Fruit Cake Christmas Bread

There is a certain staple in the DC late night scene that I was told about before I even became a DC resident; Julia’s Empanadas (Juliasempanadas.com) is located in several neighborhoods in DC and is open late on the weekends.

It turns out Julia’s Empanadas has a Chilean specialty, an empanada made with raisins, olives, and hard boiled eggs.

I’m not a fan of raisins, even in my Chilean empanadas, but I was able to successfully pick them out and enjoy the empanada. Matt doesn’t mind raisins so he munched through his without complaint.

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We couldn’t settle for just empanadas for our Chilean celebration so Matt picked up the ingredients for a Chilean soup, porotos granados, and a specialty bread, pan de pascua. We also had a delicious Chilean red wine, Casillero del Diablo.

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This best part of this soup was hunting down some of the ingredients we needed. In addition to pumpkin, corn and many different spices, the recipe called for Cranberry beans or Romano beans. We knew we could find these in Mt Pleasant or Columbia Heights and we struck gold at the Giant.

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Into a giant pot it went to simmer for a while. While it cooked, it smelled awesome. We couldn’t wait to dig in.

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I really liked this soup, it had a deep smokey flavor that made it seem like it had been slow cooked for days. Matt, I think, wasn’t a huge fan of the chunks of squash but he ate it a few times for dinner later in the week.

The last part of our Chilean meal was supposed to be a tasty Chilean Christmas bread, pan de pascua. We had high hopes for this bread, it sounded great based on the ingredients – dried fruit, nuts, and brandy. In the end, it turned out to be a pretty dry mess. That might have been a chef error, but we don’t need to go into details. (Editor note: I don’t like baking).

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Like most of our home cooked meals, nothing ever turns out quite perfect.

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We’ve learned a lot about cooking and cooking together through this entire experience. Luckily, we’ve also tried out some really great recipes that we’ll make for years to come (and I’m sure they’ll get better with practice).

 

-Bridget

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