CHILE SANDWICHES: A New Take on an Old Favorite by Virginia Haynes Montgomery

A New Take on an Old Favorite

Chile is mostly known as a long, skinny country on the west coast of South America. Because of its length and the fact that different European groups settled in different areas, food traditions vary from region to region.

For example, the food in the North is high in protein. In Central Chile, both the native Chileans and European immigrants influence foods. In the South, where there are many islands, seafood plays a large role.

One thing that seems to be important throughout the whole country — bread is essential to all Chilean meals. Sometimes three different breads will be served at the same meal. So it was no surprise that sandwiches have become a favorite snack or fast lunch.

In 2015, Time Magazine listed the Chacarero, a Chilean sandwich, as one of the 13 Most Amazing Sandwiches the world has to offer.

The Chacarero grew out of the Churrasco, which has been a favorite since the 19th century. The Churrasco is accented by avocado, a fruit that has been eaten in Chile since pre-Hispanic times. An inventive chef added green beans and tomatoes to create the Chacarero. And though it sounds implausible to have green beans on a sandwich, with the Chacarero, it works.

Rather than just fixing a tuna sandwich, a BLT, or Ham-and-Cheese, the next time you are hankering for a sandwich, try a Chile Chacarero. We’re not suggesting it’s going to replace the hamburger in the U.S. but for something different, it’s a win-win. All you need add is a tall pilsner of icy Chilean beer and life is pretty good!

The makings of a Chacarero

  • Soft roll
  • Grilled flank steak (about ½” thick)
  • Steamed and julienned green beans
  • Muenster cheese
  • Fresh tomato
  • Mashed Avocado
  • Hot sauce

Because Chilean bread is hard to find, use a Portuguese roll or hamburger roll. (Any soft bread will do.) The steak may be grilled on a patio grill or on the kitchen stove in a cast iron pan.

Place steak on roll and add a layer of green beans. Top with a slice of Muenster cheese and slice of tomato. Finish off with mashed Avocado and a drop of hot sauce. The ingredients may vary according to your taste.

For instance, you might want fewer green beans or more. Instead of steak, a Chacarero is also good made with chicken.

As they say in Chilean, YUM!

All books are available at Click on title for more information.
Food and Cooking of Chile
by Boris Benelli
Secrets of Chilean Cuisine
by Robert Marin
Tasting Chile: A Celebration of Chilean Foods and Wines
by Daniel Joelson

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