Ode to the Chorrillana
Chile's Disco Fries.
The chorrillana is Chile’s answer to disco fries or poutine. It’s simply a massive plate of minced beef, grilled onions and scrambled egg over a mountain of greasy fried potatoes. It originated in the port city of Valparaíso, though it falls within a larger context of Chilean comfort foods that include sandwiches too big to hold and mashed avocado smeared hot dogs.
There is a lot of debate of when and how the chorrillana was invented. The name comes from the fishing village turned coastal suburb of Lima, Peru called Chorrillos, though I’ve lived there and never once saw a chorrillana being served there (Note: there is a recipe called pescado a la chorrillana with a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic and ají amarillo, though it has nothing to do with the Chilean dish). So why Chorrillos? Some say it’s because Chilean troops made it when they were fighting in the Battle of Chorrillos in the War of the Pacific in 1881, while Peruvian media sometimes claims the Chileans may have seen it being cooked in Chorrillos and took the recipe back to Valparaíso. It does somewhat resemble the Peruvian dish lomo saltado, though that dish wasn’t created until the early to mid-twentieth century. It’s also similar to a general Latin American dish called bistec a lo pobre, steak with a fried egg, which often includes potatoes.
Still, the name chorrillana when reffering to this specific recipe doesn’t appear in written records until many years later.
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