(above) photo by Rich Smith
International Cuisine in the Scenic City
(above) photo by Rich Smith
Chattanooga is home to many cultures, and the best way to share one’s cultural heritage is to share the food that defines it. Read on to learn more about these Chattanoogans’ heritage and their culinary traditions.
“My grandma used to prepare this for me when I visited her in Chile. The word charquicán, from charquikanka, is thought to be a Quechua word meaning ‘stew with ch’arki (jerky).’”
Charquicán con Cochayuyo (Stew with Seaweed)
1/2 or 1 lb. meat (anything leftover is good, we used chorizo)
2 tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, cut
1 red sweet pepper
Merkén (smoked chili pepper or cayenne pepper)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
8 potatoes, cut into rough chunks
1 medium-size butternut squash,
cut into rough chunks
4-6 eggs (1 egg per serving)
Soak seaweed in water the night before. The next morning simmer seaweed for 30 minutes. Cut into little pieces and set aside. Fry chorizo/meat choice in lard or oil with the onion, carrots, sweet red peppers, merkén, salt, and oregano. Add additional seasoning to your taste preference. When the onion is soft, add the potatoes and squash. Let simmer until the vegetables are tender. Roughly stir to combine all ingredients, creating a rustic texture. Add the seaweed. Serve with a fried egg on top of each serving. Serves 4-6.
Photos by Karen Culp
“Being Italian means growing up in the kitchen and cooking family recipes. That’s what we do, especially during the holidays. The whole family cooks together.”
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. hot water
Make a mound with the flour, then create a well and add all ingredients. Beat the egg with a fork and slowly incorporate all the flour. Extra water can be added if dough is too dry. Form into a ball and put in plastic bag for 30 minutes.
15 oz. whole milk ricotta
5 oz. spinach
3 tbsp. Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients in bowl.
Take dough and roll into 2 sheets, each 1/8-inch thick. Add spoonful of filling 2 inches apart on one sheet. Place the second sheet over the first. Cut into squares, and then press out as much air as possible. Seal the edges with a fork, being careful not to puncture. Sprinkle both sides with flour, then place on a towel to dry for a few hours. Boil water, then add a generous amount of salt, and cook a few ravioli at a time for 3-4 minutes.
4 cloves garlic
1 lb. pork (country ribs)
84 oz. tomatoes, fresh or canned
14 oz. whole peeled tomatoes
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. dry basil
1 tbsp. baking soda (optional, to reduce acid)
Brown garlic in thin layer of olive oil. Remove garlic when golden, and add pork to the oil. Brown all sides of the pork, then add 84 oz. tomatoes. Force whole peeled tomatoes through strainer with a spoon into the sauce. Add all other ingredients, and cook on low for 2-4 hours.
1 & 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp. anise extract or oil
3 cups flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Chill mixture in fridge for two hours. Heat and grease pizzella iron. Place small scoops of batter on iron, cook 10-15 seconds, and remove from iron.
Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies, usually made around Christmas and Easter and served at weddings. They can be molded into various shapes, including the shape of a cannoli and filled with cream.
Photos by Terry Henson
“This is the first time I’ve written this recipe down. In Nicaragua, you grow up cooking with your mom and grandma, and no one writes down recipes. You taste as you go, and decide how much of each spice or ingredient is needed. And every family has their own way of making certain dishes. This dish is traditionally sold on the street in banana leaves, and you eat it with your hands.” – Tatiana
2 & 1/2 lbs. pork loin
Salt & black pepper
4 limes, juiced (traditionally you would use 1 naranja agria, bitter orange)
4 garlic cloves, mashed and sliced
Annatto powder or paste (known as achiote)
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 lbs. of yuca
1/2 cabbage, shredded
3-4 Roma tomatoes
3/4 cup vinegar
Cut pork into bite size pieces, place in a container to marinate, and add salt and pepper to taste. For marinade, mix lime juice (or bitter orange juice), garlic, and annatto powder for color (you can also add bay leaves and cumin to the marinade). Let pork marinate for 1-2 hours. After that, add half of the diced onion (about a spoonful) with a little oil to a large skillet. Once the onion is soft, add the pork and marinade to the skillet. Place on medium heat for a couple of minutes, then turn to low heat for about 20 minutes (do not let it dry out).
Peel yuca and cut into small pieces. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Add salt to taste. Once it’s tender, remove from heat and discard the water.
To the shredded cabbage, add diced tomatoes, remaining onion, salt (about 1 & 1/2 tbsp.) and vinegar. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Make sure that you let the salad sit in the vinegar and salt for about 15-30 minutes before serving.
Place a portion of the cooked yuca in the middle of each banana leaf or plate. Top yuca with pork. Finally, top the yuca and pork with a large spoonful of salad. Serves 4-6.
Photos by Rich Smith
“My mother is from Torquay in Devon, England. High tea, or cream tea, is an English tradition, but never more so than in Devon because of the access to fresh Devonshire cream, which originated there. I’ve been to many high teas in the states, and I always judge the quality on the cream! Note: cool whip is not a substitute. I grew up having teas with my mom – it was part of our family’s daily routine. Sometimes they were formal, more often casual, but it is a tradition that has stayed with me as a way to take a moment for myself, honor family traditions, enjoy a taste of England, and remember all those great times with my mom. I enjoy them most when using the china I inherited from her.
Devonshire cream can be traced back to the 14th century at the Tavistock Abbey estates in Devon. With no churns to make butter, they scalded their milk. The resulting clotted cream was stirred and then made into butter. Later, in British dairies, farmers’ wives would set out a bowl of cream to “settle” for several hours. They would then scald it and let it simmer overnight on their kitchen ranges. As it cooled the next day, the thick, yellow cream was skimmed off and layered into a bowl. Good Devonshire cream has a nutty flavor that results from the slow heating. If you are ever in Devon, England, be sure to try it, as well as the ice cream made from it, it’s amazing!”
Fresh Lemon Curd
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until cold, at least 1 hour.
4 cups heavy cream
If you can get it fresh from a farm, it’s even better, but store-bought heavy cream will work. In a double boiler over medium heat, bring the cream to 175°. If you don’t have a double boiler (and I don’t) place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water. Stir a little so that the cream heats evenly. Once you reach 175°, bring up the temperature to 180 to 200°. Keep that temperature for about 45 minutes to an hour. At this point, the cream will take on a cracked, yellow skin. Next, remove the bowl or top of your double boiler and settle in a pan of ice water to cool quickly. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. Then carefully skim the clotted cream off the top with a shallow spoon and layer it into a bowl. It will keep for about a week in your fridge. I top scones with Devonshire cream and fresh lemon curd or jam, but if you don’t have scones, Southern biscuits are a wonderful substitute for English scones. What you don’t use on biscuits can be used as you would regular cream.
→ Cucumber cream cheese sandwiches are an easy high tea staple. Just slice cucumbers paper thin, blot extra juice, and place them on bread with thinly spread cream cheese.
Photos by Rich Smith