Chile Survival Guide: Thanksgiving in Santiago

Part of the charm of Thanksgiving is the intimacy of being around those closest to you, and it can be hard when family and old friends are on a different continent. Although finding the right ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving seems daunting at first, hosting a Santiago Thanksgiving isn’t impossible, and is actually quite easy (even more so if you ask friends to bring some dishes to share!). Here are some tips for finding ingredients and making the main Thanksgiving staples:

Pollo a las Brasas on Vicuña Mackenna
Pollo a las Brasas on Vicuña Mackenna

Turkey: Forget it. They are expensive, hard to find, and who really has the room or patience for a turkey? Opt instead for a whole chicken, and look for some simple roasting recipes online. If you really want to avoid having to cook the Thanksgiving fowl, there are roasted chickens ready to go at nearly every supermarket (and pollo a la brasa stop) for between CP $3,000-$4,000.

Sweet Potatoes: Head to La Vega and stop by any Peruvian stand. Ask for “papa camote” and they are sure to have them. Sometimes vendors at local ferias will have some, but La Vega is a sure thing. The marshmallows here don’t bake well (they basically just turn into rocks), so it’s a better idea to leave them out of the picture.

Vergetable stand at Mercardo Central
Vergetable stand at Mercardo Central

Green Bean Casserole: If pesos are no object, you can find the same canned ingredients as the US at supermarkets like Jumbo or HyperLider. But don’t worry if you’re balling on a budget, you can make nearly the same thing with ingredients from any supermarket. Instead of Campbell’s condensed soup, use a packet of cream of mushroom soup, and instead of water, cook it with about a third of the amount of liquid using whole milk. It won’t be as thick as condensed soup but still pretty good. Make the french fried onions from scratch ahead of time (which are basically just really thin onion rings), and use frozen green beans.

Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes can be found at any local feria, and you can jazz them up with some plain yogurt (instead of sour cream) and cream cheese if that’s your thing.

Pumpkin Pie: If you want a traditional pumpkin pie with Libby’s pumpkin pie filling, you’re going to need deep pockets. Libby’s is about equal in cost (and scarcity) as gold. You can get a decent pumpkin pie with similar texture and flavor using “zapallo camote”. Pieces go for super cheap at La Vega and local ferias, but you can also find it in every supermarket at a slightly higher price. Boil the pieces to soften them, and pureé with spices. Find nutmeg (nuez moscado), cinnamon (canela), and clove (clavo de olor) at any supermarket to create that perfect pumpkin pie spice.

Stuffing: This is probably the easiest Thanksgiving dish to make, no matter the variation you prefer. All of the ingredients are easily found at any supermarket or local feria.

For some people, the Thanksgiving spirit doesn’t involve slaving over a hot stove and making sure the apartment is clean for friends to come over and make a mess. Thankfully, there are several places around town that host Thanksgiving dinners, and here are some of the most popular:

Black Rock Pub:Black Rock is dedicated to making the most authentic Thanksgiving meal possible, which means all the staples from above will be present, including additional salads, ham, biscuits and desserts. The icing on the cake? It’s buffet style so you can really eat yourself into a turkey induced coma and roll yourself home.

Black Rock Pub
8 p.m. Thursday, November 26
CP $19,000 CP (not including drinks)
Providencia
Avda. Providencia 2528, Local 42
Phone number: (2) 2335 6135
Metro Tobalaba
https://www.facebook.com/events/900044456716477/

California Cantina:California Cantina hosts two Thanksgiving meals, one at 4 p.m. and another at 7p.m. Both meals are set menus including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce and a welcome drink. They also have pumpkin pie for dessert, and no Thanksgiving is complete without some NFL games. Reservations are required and close on Tuesday, November 24.

California Cantina
4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday, November 26
Adults CP 12,000, Students CP $10,000 Children $9,000
Providencia
Las Urbinas 56
Phone Number: (2) 2361 1056
Metro Pedro de Valdivia
https://www.facebook.com/events/1489713984664208/

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