This is a vibrant variation on the classic Chilean casserole that blends beef, chicken, and shrimp under a very creamy blanket of sweet corn. It’s fun to fuss over the ingredients, and to make your own variation using whatever you have on hand that you think would work. After all, that’s how this dish—like molé sauce—originated. At the table, I like to pass around a small bowl of freshly chopped jalapenos, after zapping them in the microwave oven for a minute or so to tenderize them and bring out their heat.

2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut to bite-sized chunks
2 pounds sirloin, cut to bite-sized chunks (leftover grilled steak is
especially welcome; merely reheat it after sautéeing the chicken)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Dashes of Tabasco sauce (Jalapeno preferred here)
1/3 cup low-salt canned beef broth
3/4 cup chopped green olives stuffed with pimientos
1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked for 15 minutes in warm Madeira wine
to cover, drained
2 tablespoons capers, packed in salt and very thoroughly rinsed,
chopped if large
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds
3/4 lb. rock shrimp, or medium, cleaned (optional,
but you’ll miss them)
3 hard-cooked eggs, quartered lengthwise (optional)
3 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing the optional hard-cooked eggs


1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups grated fresh corn (about 4 ears), cobs scraped with the dull side
of a knife or 2 cups frozen kernels combined with 1/2 - 1 cup
canned "creamed" corn
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon mace
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté onion in oil over moderate heat in a very large sauté pan for 6-7 minutes, until soft and beginning to color. Add chicken and sauté, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, or just until it is cooked through, but don’t let it get rubbery. Pile the chicken in an off-heat corner of the pan and add the beef. Cook (or reheat, if using grilled leftover steak) until medium-rare. Stir chicken and beef together, and sprinkle with flour, salt, and Tabasco sauce, stirring for just a few minutes. Pour in broth and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring slowly. Add olives, raisins, and spices. Stir in the shrimp and cook 3 minutes longer. If the mixture seems too soupy, drain a bit of fluid out.

Immediately turn the mixture into a buttered baking pan large enough to fill by at least an inch-and-a-half (12 x 10 1/2 x 2 1/2" should do nicely).

Make the topping. In the same large sauté pan, stir the onions in butter until softened, five minutes. Blend in corn and 1 teaspoon salt and cook two minutes over low heat, stirring. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks for a few minutes, then whisk in the cream, spices, and sugar. Off heat, stir the egg mixture into the corn mixture. Spread this evenly over the meat. Decorate the topping with optional quartered hard-cooked eggs and brush them lightly with melted butter. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until nice and bubbly.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Copyright © 1999 - 2007 by Tom Steele. All rights reserved.