Carmenere and Sweet Corn Pie
Known as the signature grape of Chile, Carmenere has had a fascinating history in this viticulturally diverse country. Planted in the mid-19th century and originally believed to be a late-ripening Merlot, the grape was correctly identified as Carmenere in the early 1990s on one of Chile’s oldest estates.
Now, Chile is one of the very few places where Carmenere prospers, and through innovation in plantings and experimentation with different terroirs, the quality of the resulting wine is inspiring.
Rich flavors of ripe fruits and spice balance smooth and well-rounded tannins -- Carmenere pairs best with red meats like lamb or beef and holds up well to complex dishes with spice.
We suggest pairing Carmenere with Pastel de Choclo (Sweet Corn Pie), a recipe by famed Chilean Chef Pilar Rodriguez.
Pastel de Choclo (Sweet Corn Pie)
by Pilar Rodriguez
Serves 6 to 8
1 whole skinless chicken (3 lbs.) boiled and shredded
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
3 cups chopped onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 pinch cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
½ cup raisins
10 black olives, pitted
3 hard boiled eggs cut in wedges (4 to 6 pieces)
Black pepper to taste, freshly ground
Sweet corn topping:
12 cups fresh or frozen sweetcorn
1 cup cream
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 pinch fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
5 leaves of fresh basil cut in julienne
8 teaspoons sugar (optional)
FILLING: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and the crushed garlic with the oregano, pinch of cumin and salt until the onions are cooked. Add the meat in one layer, and cook until golden. Then, using a spatula, turn the meat and sauté the other side. Once the meat is cooked, add the sweet paprika and mix well. (If you stir the mixture from the beginning, the result will be too watery). Prepare this filling the day before and once cool, refrigerate until needed.
SWEETCORN TOPPING: Using a food processor or blender, gradually grind the corn, adding the cream as you go, until a smooth, uniform purée is achieved. Put the mixture in a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly. When it thickens, withdraw from the heat, add the beaten egg and melted butter and mix well. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and reserve.
ASSEMBLY AND BAKING: Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Grease a baking dish or 8 individual ramekins. Fill the baking dish or each ramekin to 1/3 with the filling. Add a layer of the shredded chicken and then arrange the raisins, olives and egg wedges evenly on top. Finally, cover with the corn mixture. For an authentic finish, sprinkle sugar on top. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until golden brown.