Earlier this week, Pilar posted on facebook about waiting for a snowstorm to hit her hometown. She lives in Punta Arenas, at the far tip of Chile, on the Magellan Straight.
How insane, I thought. It’s almost summer there.
But then I remembered one Summer Solstice in Esquel, in Argentina’s Patagonia far to the north. I awoke to the surrounding mountains blanketed with fresh snow. It was a poem-inspiring morning.
Thinking of the snows in the Patagonia brought back many memories of sojourning there, when I was researching guidebooks about Chile and Argentina. I arrived in Puerto Natales (Chile) in May – or late austral autumn. I had spent the day walking around town, looking for information and making the map for that port city. It was so cold, my fingers were turning indigo. (I stopped by an artisan stall to buy wool gloves.) A hard snow was flurrying.
When I returned to Erratic Rock hostel that evening, all I wanted was something hot and comforting for my dinner.
I dug into my knapsack’s food bag and pulled out a tin of mixed seafood. Chile has such wonderful and abundant seafood, that supermarkets carry a wide variety of canned fruits of the sea at surprisingly economical prices. A tin of it makes a special meal without breaking a backpacker’s budget. I had picked it up with the idea of making seafood marinara pasta.
But that May evening, another idea came to mind: a New England-style Seafood Chowder. This was the recipe I created.
Estimated cooking time: 15 minutes
For: Pescetarians and Carnivores.
Makes: 5 bowls
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 large potato, finely diced
1 can (425 grams) of mixed seafood (surtido de mariscos)
8 heaping tablespoons (or heaping half-cup) of instant milk
3 cups of water
salt and ground black pepper to taste
In medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the carrots until they begin to become tender. Add potatoes, then the onions. When the vegetables are tender, add the can of seafood (with broth) and heat through.
Turn the fire to low. Mix the 4 heaping tablespoons of instant milk with 2 cups of water, stir into the saucepan. Add another tablespoon or two of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until hot. Do not boil!
Serve hot with fresh bread.
After adding each vegetable, put a lid on the saucepan. This will allow the vegetables cook more quickly.