What are some of the customary dishes that are commonly found in Neuquen?

The province of Neuquen, located in Argentine Patagonia, has a wide variety of regional dishes that showcase its unique culture and geography. Here are some typical foods you should try when visiting Neuquen:

– Asado: Asado is a classic Argentine barbecue, but in Neuquen, it often features cuts of lamb or goat instead of beef. The meat is cooked over a wood fire and served with chimichurri sauce, salads, and bread.

– Trucha Patagonica: Neuquen is home to many pristine rivers and lakes, making it an ideal place to savor fresh trout. Trucha patagonica is usually grilled or baked and served with lemon, herbs, and potatoes.

– Cordero Patagonico: Another popular meat dish in Neuquen is cordero patagonico, which means Patagonian lamb. The lamb is roasted on a spit or cooked in a clay oven until the meat is tender and flavorful.

– Escabeches: Escabeche is a Spanish-style dish that consists of marinated fish, chicken, or rabbit. In Neuquen, the escabeches are made with local ingredients like river trout, quail, and wild boar.

– Empanadas: Empanadas are a common snack or appetizer in Argentina, and Neuquen has its own version of this pastry. The typical filling is called “criollo,” which contains ground beef, onions, potatoes, and spices.

– Torta Galesa: Torta galesa or Welsh cake is a traditional dessert that reflects the Welsh heritage of Neuquen. The cake is made with dried fruits, nuts, eggs, and butter and served with a cup of tea.

Where to eat these regional foods?

– La Costa del Pueblo (Ruta 40, km 2203): A rustic restaurant located on the shore of Lake Lácar, La Costa del Pueblo offers a menu that highlights the local ingredients and flavors of Neuquen. You can try their grilled lamb, trout ceviche, and homemade bread.

– La Costa de los Loros (Ruta 23, km 28): This restaurant is renowned for its trucha patagonica, which is served in different variations like grilled, stuffed, or coated with almonds. They also offer empanadas, escabeches, and other regional dishes.

– Casa de Campo (Ruta 40, km 2160): Nestled in a forested area near San Martin de los Andes, Casa de Campo is a cozy restaurant that specializes in cordero patagonico and asado. The lamb is cooked over an open fire and served with roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables.

Recipes:

1. Trucha Patagonica al horno (Baked Patagonian Trout)

Ingredients:
– 4 fresh trout fillets
– 2 lemons, sliced
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 tbsp chopped parsley
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Rinse the trout fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
3. Season the fillets with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and chopped parsley.
4. Place a slice of lemon on top of each fillet and drizzle with olive oil.
5. Wrap the fillets in foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Serve hot with boiled or roasted potatoes.

2. Empanadas Criollas (Criollo Empanadas)

Ingredients:
– 2 cups flour
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup lard or butter
– 1 lb ground beef
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 potatoes, diced
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– Salt and pepper
– 1 egg, beaten

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, water, and lard until you get a smooth dough.
2. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a damp cloth.
3. In a skillet, brown the ground beef, onion, and potatoes over medium heat.
4. Add the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper and stir well.
5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into thin circles about 6 inches in diameter.
7. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each circle and fold the dough over to form a half-moon shape.
8. Seal the edges of the empanadas with your fingers or a fork.
9. Brush the empanadas with the beaten egg and arrange them on a baking sheet.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Serve hot with chimichurri sauce.

Neuquen is a food lover’s paradise where you can explore unique flavors and ingredients that reflect the traditions and landscapes of Argentine Patagonia. Whether you try the trucha patagonica, cordero patagonico, or empanadas criollas, you’ll discover the rich cultural heritage of this region.

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