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Milcaos - Potato Pancakes from the Chiloé Archipelago

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Milcaos - Potato Pancakes from the Chiloé Archipelago

Milcaos - Potato Pancakes

Marian Blazes

These simple yet delicious potato pancakes a traditional food in the Chiloé Archipelago (El Archipiélago de Chiloé), and group of islands off the coast of Chile. These pancakes are typically part of a famous dish from that region called curanto, which is cooked underground over hot rocks and has layers of shellfish, meats, herbs, and potatoes.

Milcaos are prepared by mixing both cooked mashed potatoes with raw grated potatoes and some lard. It's a clever idea - the mashed potatoes form the binder that holds the the pancake together when fried.

Prep Time: 15áminutes

Cook Time: 20áminutes

Total Time: 35áminutes

Yield: About 12 large potato pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 12 medium potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Place half of the potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water and cook until very tender when pierced with a fork.

  2. Drain potatoes, and peel when cool enough to handle. Mash potatoes well with butter, and season with salt to taste.

  3. Peel the remaining potatoes and grate peeled potatoes finely. Potatoes should be in very small pieces, almost ground. (Residents of Cliloé Island traditionally use a volcanic rock for this job).

  4. Wrap raw grated potatoes in a dish cloth and squeeze very firmly to remove any water.

  5. Mix grated potatoes with mashed potatoes in equal parts, starting with 1 cup of each. Add 1 tablespoon of lard and blend potatoes together with your hands to form a smooth dough. Add the rest of the grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, and lard and knead until you have a smooth dough.

  6. Shape dough into round patties. Fill a pot or deep sided skillet with 2 inches of oil, and heat oil to 360 degrees.

  7. Drop potato pancakes in hot oil and cook until pancakes are dark golden brown. Remove potato pancakes and drain on paper towels.

  8. Serve warm.

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