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Experience Plus - Bicycle Tours since 1972

Cazuela de Vaca-Chilean Beef Stew

by Jo - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 featurephoto_cazuela

It’s wintertime, so a warm soup sounds nice in the northern parts of this country, but for those of you who are living farther south, we hope that this Chilean specialty will pique your taste buds too.

Named for the cooking vessel that it is usually prepared in, cazuela is a hearty stew with innumerable variations. Using some of South America’s best-loved staples, we present Cazuela de Vaca for you:

*In this recipe, we use beef (especially since Argentina is close by and known for its beef), but you are free to use chicken or omit the meat altogether. The pieces of meat are cut into six pieces because when you serve it, each bowl will have a piece of meat, some squash, & a potato. Note that if you do decide to use chicken, cooking time for the meat will decrease to about 25 minutes and use chicken broth in place of the beef broth.  

  • 1 ½ pounds beef roast
  • 32 ounces of beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 servings of rice
  • 8 red potatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 ½ pounds of pumpkin or other winter squash of your choice
  • 2 ears of corn; cut in thirds (if you can’t find fresh corn because it’s not in season, use frozen corn but add it in the last 10 minutes of cooking process or omit completely)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped in thick chunks
  • 1 leek, cut lengthwise and chopped in ½” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped

Cut the beef roast into 6 large chunks, place beef in a large deep saucepan or Dutch oven with beef broth and water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer until the meat is nearly tender (about 1 to 1½ hours).

While you’re waiting for your meat to cook, prepare the rice.

Add potatoes and onions, simmer for 15 minutes covered.  Add squash, corn, carrot, bell pepper, celery, and leek to the stock until the veggies are tender.  If the water doesn’t cover all the elements of the stew, add a bit more.  Stir in oregano and paprika for last 5 minutes of cooking, seasoning with salt and pepper as you see fit.

Ladle soup into bowls over the previously cooked rice; apportion corn, potatoes, squash, and meat evenly among the bowls.  Garnish with cilantro.

Looking for a themed dessert?  Our tour leader Juan Pablo Mansilla has written a Chilean custard recipe for us: Leche Asada

Our tour in Chile’s Wine Country starts March 9; if you’ve realized you’re hooked and you’ve got to have an authentic bowl of cazuela accompanied with a wine from a vineyard you rode through that day, join us in South America!

This recipe has been inspired by suggestions from allrecipes.com and tasteofhome.com. 

Jo - JoAnne “Jo” Baldwin was our Reservations and Marketing Associate from 2011 to March 1, 2014. She enjoys looking for new projects and places to visit, and always eager to try a new recipe or climb another hill (either on bike or on foot). She seeks to share various elements of local culture and history with our followers, particularly recipes. In 2014 Jo headed west towards Seattle to look for more hiking, camping, or skiing, but luckily for us she still shares her favorite recipes and travel stories in our Rambler e-newsletter.