Citizens, you may not have heard of “Chacarero” before, but trust me – it’s about to become one of your new favorite meals! 😀
Chacarero is a Chilean sandwich made with thinly-sliced churrasco-style steak (sometimes lomito-style pork) on a round roll with tomatoes, avocado, green beans and chili peppers. It has been said that just as New York has pastrami on rye and Chicago has the Italian beef, Santiago, Chile, has the chacarero. It is the definitive sandwich of the city.
It is one of the many varieties of sandwich served in Chilean fuentes de soda, or schoperías, restaurants equivalent to a “greasy spoon”, that serve fast food and draught beer. It is a truly delicious addition to your sandwich-making repertoire, Citizens!
The word chacarero is said to come from the quechua word ‘chakra’ which means ‘farm’. A chacarero is therefore a ‘farmer’. Juan Hurtado of Chile first had the idea to prepare this sandwich and sell it at a food cart. In the early years, the chacarero was not a huge success. Finally, once the rumor spread, the sandwich became widely popular. This initial failure was due to the presence of green beans in the sandwich, an idea that the Chileans found rather strange before tasting.
Chile is one of the largest consumers of bread in the world after the Germans with about 200 kilograms of bread per year per person. Although bread is nourishing when combined with animal protein, it is not very digestible. The presence of many green beans, peppers and tomatoes, however, makes this sandwich rather balanced compared to its cousin the hamburger.
As it happens, Citizens, Chacarero was named by Time magazine as one of “The 13 Most Amazing Sandwiches the World Has to Offer” – so you know you MUST try it! My version has especial savor, including a spicy and flavorful Pebre sauce instead of the traditional sliced chiles as well as a delicious marinade for the steak.
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