Charquican – Easy Chilean Stew

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This hearty and healthy Chilean dish is always the favorite when the beans and peas are in season. Charquican is one of those popular stews that can be served whether it’s winter or summer.

What is Charquican?

A popular Chilean dish, Charquican is a stew commonly made with beef, beans, corn, peas, squash, and other vegetables.  The name derived from the word Ch’arki, a Chilean jerky. This is how their meats were prepared before the refrigerator existed.

This traditional Chilean Charquican’s contemporary version is prepared with minced meat, which can be beef, pork, chicken, and even turkey, and then topped with fried eggs when served.

The dish is usually prepared whenever the beans and peas are in season. These are must-have ingredients for Charquican, along with corn. That is why the dish is also being served during winter and summer.  Other vegetables are also added like squash, potatoes, carrots, and more. 

What is the history of Charquican?

Charquican is from the word Charquikanka which means “stew with ch’arki (jerky).” It is said to be a Quechua word, a pre-Columbian ancestral language known to be the main language of the Inca Empire.

Some also claimed that the word is from a combination of two words from a Quencha word ch’arki and Mapundungun  (an Araucanian language spoken in South-central Chile) word cancan (dried roasted meat).

Charquican is known to be originated in Chile as it is very popular in this country ever since a long time ago. But it is also very popular in Bolivia, Peru, and some countries in the Andean region, like the Cuyo region of Argentina.

There is also a dish called Charquisillo, almost the same as this Chilean dish eaten in Northwest Argentina. It is a dish made with ch’arki and rice. It is not surprising that their dishes and favorite foods have similarities because these are neighboring countries with Chile in between them.

This healthy dish was originally made with dried and salted llama meat. It is commonly eaten by merchants traveling between the port of Arica (Chile’s northernmost city) and the mines of Potosi (a City in Bolivia and the world’s largest silver deposit and has been mined since the sixteenth century).

It is also a favorite dish by peasants who were traveling with herds of livestock from these regions.

During the Chilean War of Independence (1812-1826), the Charquican Cuyano was a regular meal eaten by the soldiers of the Army of the Andes.

Today,  Charquican is popularly prepared with minced beef (or any meat of choice) and topped with a fried egg. 

How to make this delicious Charquican?

This healthy, traditional Chilean dish has a remarkable background. It also became a comfort food with varieties when it comes to ingredients depending on what’s in season.

The popular meat that is used nowadays is beef. But other meats can be used like pork, chicken, or turkey. Some have used fish and horse or rabbit meat, too.

If you prefer the Charquican in the traditional way, you can use jerky or even leftover roast meat. 

In this recipe, the ingredients are 

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb (500gms) minced meat – your choice of meat like beef, pork, chicken, turkey and maybe you have others in mind.
  • 2 cups pumpkin, diced
  • 6 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin powder
  • 2 Carrots, chopped

Optional:

  • Peas, green beans, corn, or any other veggie you have on hand – I’d say optional whichever is in season.
  • 4 eggs, fried – some people don’t like fried eggs on it. I’d love to have 1 or 2 on my Charquican.

Here is what you should do:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes. And then add the garlic and saute until fragrant, for around 1 more minute. 

Add the meat and stir for a bit. Let the meat brown for about 3 minutes without mixing. Then continue stirring occasionally for about 4 more minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Then cover with a lid and cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until all the ingredients are tender. 

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

With the help of a potato masher, roughly mash everything together, leaving some large chunks behind. 

Divide between 4 plates and top with a fried egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Charquican - Easy Chilean Stew

Charquican - Easy Chilean Stew

Yield: 4 Servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This hearty and healthy Chilean dish is always the favorite when the beans and peas are in season. Charquican is one of those popular stews that can be served whether it’s winter or summer.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb (500gms) minced meat of your choice
  • 2 cups pumpkin, diced
  • 6 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin powder
  • 2 Carrots, chopped

Optional:

  • Peas, green beans, corn, or any other veggie you have on hand
  • 4 eggs, fried

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, for around 1 more minute. 
  4. Add the meat and stir for a bit. Let the meat brown for about 3 minutes without mixing. Then continue stirring occasionally for about 4 more minutes.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until all the ingredients are tender. 
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  8. With the help of a potato masher, roughly mash everything together, leaving some large chunks behind. 
  9. Divide between 4 plates and top with a fried egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 579Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 327mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 13gSugar: 15gProtein: 24g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

Did you make this recipe?

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Enjoy!

Don’t forget to pin this mouthwatering dish into your favorite stews Pinterest Board for later.

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