It’s the time of year when nothing warms your soul, and fills your panza more than a big, steaming bowl of caldo. It is known as the food that heals us.
It is the only thing your mamá y abuela will both approve of when you’re sick – a food filled with comfort in each heaping spoonful. The delicious broth is often both salted and spiced to perfection. Just imagine it: The chunks of meat, vegetables, or both, floating amongst the loving liquid. Doesn’t that sound lovely? The herbs float on top as a garnish are divine, and the tortillas warmed over the fire to sop up the remains transport me to what I may assume heaven feels like.
Can you tell I love caldo?
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling the world, learning about different cultures, and geographies – all through their recipes – and when it comes to caldo, one of the ones that I could never get tired of is the Chilean dish caldillo de congrio.
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What is caldillo de congrio
Caldillo de Congrio is a traditional dish that is typically made with conger eel, which is, unfortunately, extremely difficult to come by outside of Chile. In its place, any white fish can typically be used as a replacement. It is a delicious, chowder-style soup that combines the smoky smoldering spice of paprika, heavy cream, and plenty of herbs, all coming together in this hearty dish that is both delicious and comforting.
The basic foundation of the recipe is below, though you may want to vary amounts based on your own preference or add additional things like more spices, or a few chiles to taste.
- 1.5 lbs of white fish, cut into chunks
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, shelled and minced.
- 1 tbsp of paprika, or more to taste
- 4 cups of fish stock
- 1 cup cooking wine
- 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to your taste.
- Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat.
- Add the onion and saute until onions become translucent, between 3-4 minutes.
- Add garlic and paprika and saute for another few minutes.
- Next, add the tomatoes and let them simmer for 5 minutes before adding the wine.
- Allow it all to simmer together for another minute.
- Add the fish stock, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Stir together and then bring to a boil.
- Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the chunks of fish and allow them to cook through, simmering for another 6 to 7 minutes.
- Add in the heavy cream, and more spices if needed.
- Simmer for one minute and then serve.
- Garnish the bowls with fresh cilantro.
Finally, you can devour the amazing flavors of caldillo de congrio. May it bring you as much happiness as it brings me.