Curanto al hoyo (Chilean pit-bake) is a traditional and delicious food from the Chiloe archipelago in Chile. When and how this cooking method started is unknown, although it is believed that in Chile this ancient way to prepare food belongs to the Chono, an Indigenous group which inhabited the southern coastal part of the country.
When the Spanish Conquistadores arrived to the Chiloe Island, new ingredients such as meat and potatoes were added to the original preparation resulting in what is currently known as Curanto. But what is the Curanto al hoyo? It is a traditional Chilote (people born in Chiloe island) meal prepared in a hole of about one and a half metres deep.
Firstly the hole is filled with stones which are heated with a bonfire. Once the stones are red hot, the remaining wood is removed and ingredients such us shellfish, chicken, pork chops, sausages, potatoes, chapaleles (boiled potato and wheat flour dumpling), milcao (potato dumpling) are added. Some type of shellfish can vary, however, clams, mussels and giant barnacles are a must. Each layer of ingredients is separated with the local Nalca leaves, Finally everything is covered with wet bags held down with turf in order to create the effect of a pressure cooker. After approximately an hour of cooking, the delicious Curanto is ready to be opened and eaten (carefully) with a glass of Chilean white wine.
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