World Cup Cook-off: Slovenia and Chile

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Trudie Wegner with a bowl of steaming Richet. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

OUR World Cup Cook-off on The Global Table blog has taken readers on a magic carpet ride of traditional cuisine these past months, with plenty of recipes being shared from countries like Australia, Germany, Greece, South Korea, Uruguay and of course South Africa!

And the  Cook-off – featuring dishes from each of the 32 nations playing in the tournament – is far from over. Today Richmond Hill resident Trudie Wegner, who recently returned from a trip to Slovenia, shares a delicious soup recipe from that country, while The Global Table blogger  Louise Liebenberg has made  a famous Chilean dish called Pastel de Choclo. To see the recipe and learn a bit more about the dish, scroll down.

Trudie searched high and low for a recipe for richet (pronounced ‘rishet’), a hearty winter soup she enjoyed at the top of Slovenia’s Mount Vogel, one of the highest peaks  in the Julian Alps.

The dish contains barley, beans, air-dried pork and plenty of veggies and is perfect for the chilly weather we’ve been experiencing – besides the fact the recipe is particularly well timed as Slovenia played the US in Johannesburg yesterday in a 2-all draw, and on Wednesday at 4pm will face England at the  Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth! The tiny Balkan nation  showed its fighting spirit by beating Algeria 1-0 in its opening game last Sunday.

The Chileans  are also playing in the Bay next week – against Switzerland at 4pm on Monday – and so far have had a promising start to their tournament, having beaten fellow South Americans Honduras 1-0 on Wednesday.

Like many of the continent’s  most beloved dishes, Pastel de Choclo (a ground beef casserole topped with corn batter) knows many variations throughout South America. It is especially popular in Chile, where it is often made with both beef and chicken in the same dish.  As with a lot of the Latin dishes, sliced, hard-boiled eggs can also be added.

The pastel is traditionally baked in a large, oval earthenware dish known as a paila, but a pyrex casserole dish works just as well.

* To read more about Trudie’s trip to Slovenia, see Page 3 of Weekend Post’s My Weekend supplement today.

* Remember we are still a few countries short for our World Cup Cook-off, so if you have links to the Ivory Coast, Slovakia,  North Korea, Cameroon or Paraguay, and want  to share a recipe, write to or

Slovenian soup or Richet. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Slovenian soup or Richet. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Slovenian Richet – The Recipe

Trudie was astounded by the delicious dishes she enjoyed while in Slovenia, and was particularly impressed by their magnificent breads. Soups are extremely popular, although the air-dried pork needed for Richet may be a little tricky – and costly – to find in Port Elizabeth. Trudie used pancetta, which seems to have worked fine. She says the Richet she had in Slovenia seemed altogether clearer, with the barley neatly positioned in the centre, but the taste was not vastly different. If you would prefer serving it that way, she suggests cooking the barley separately and then just adding it to the soup at the end. Trudie also used tinned red kidney beans as opposed to dried, which could be why her soup was not as clear.


300g pot barley; 300g dried pork (or else pancetta); 100g dried red kidney beans (or 1 standard-sized tin of red kidney beans as per Trudie’s method); 1 carrot; a handful of fresh parsley, chopped; 2 celery sticks; 1 leek; 1/2 kohlrabi (Trudie substituted this with 1 cup of shredded cabbage); 1 onion; 3 cloves garlic; 2 tomatoes; 1/2 tsp paprika; bayleaves; 100g potatoes; 2 and 1/2 vegetable stock blocks; 3 to 4 litres of water; salt and pepper to taste


Soak the pot barley and dried beans (if using) overnight and put into a large soup pot to cook. About 20 minutes later, add the meat (as well as the tinned beans, if using). After about an hour of simmering; add all the spices and vegetables (cut into cubes) except for the potatoes, and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the cubed potatoes about 15 minutes before the dish is cooked, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Picture: Salvelio Meyer

A portion of Pastel de Choclo. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Chilean Pastel de Choclo – The Recipe

Louise tried this recipe for traditional Pastel de Choclo, a favourite Chilean dish featuring spicy ground beef topped with a thick corn crust. The recipe worked like a dream and will definitely be made again, although Salvelio and Louise both found the corn batter a little bit too sweet. The Chileans prefer it that way and some, besides mixing sugar into the batter and also sprinkling it on top, add as much as an additional quarter cup of sugar  to the corn. If you don’t fancy a sweet topping on top of a savoury dish, simply leave out the sugar, especially as South African corn is very sweet to start with anyway. The meat part of the recipe can also be used to make a filling for empanadas, those famous South American pasties.


For the meat: 3 tbsp oil; 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped; 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped; 500g beef mince (ground beef); 1 tbsp paprika (use the smokey Spanish one which has a subtle bite); 1 tsp powdered cumin; 1 tsp oregano; 1/2 cup of beef stock (you can take half a cup of boiling water with 2 tsp of stock powder too); 1 tbsp cake flour, salt and pepper to taste

For the corn topping: 500g fresh corn, or else frozen corn which has been thawed out and drained; 1/4 cup of polenta or cornmeal; 2 tbsp of cornflour or Maizena; a little milk (2 to 3 tbsp should do it but use your discretion); 1 tbsp sugar (can happily be omitted); salt and pepper to taste; 1 tbsp butter; 2 tbsp sugar for sprinkling (again, for South African palates, can be omitted)


Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.

Heat the oil and fry the onion over medium heat until translucent; add the garlic and fry for another minute or two. Add the mince, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and saute until just cooked through (about 10 minutes), breaking up the meat as you go along.

Now add the beef stock and simmer a bit, then sprinkle the flour on top of the mince and stir systematically. Cook for another five or so minutes, till thickened. Adjust seasoning if needed; then scoop the mince into a greased casserole dish, spreading it out evenly. Set aside.

To make the corn topping, process the corn, polenta, cornflour and sugar (if using) in a food processor  until well pureed. With the motor running, add the milk a little at a time till a thick batter is formed. Season to taste.

Melt the butter over a medium-low heat in a large pan, then add the corn mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until well thickened (about 8 minutes). Spread the corn mixture evenly over the mince in the casserole dish, sprinkle sugar over the top (if using), then bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top. (Louise also dotted a few tiny bits of butter on top, before baking, which made the topping even more golden and delicious).

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