Serious Sandwiches: Churrasco Completo




Tips and tricks for making the best sandwiches at home.

While traveling through Chile last week, I discovered that my new favorite Spanish word is completo. A word with a few different meanings when it comes to food, completo is best translated as "the works." Use it alone as a noun, as in "Yo quiero un completo," and you'll get a hot dog topped with everything but the kitchen sink (usually salsa, tomatoes, guacamole, sometimes sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard, and the requisite mayonnaise). Use it as an adjective, following the word churrasco and what you'll get is a very serious sandwich.

serioussandwiches-carretera.jpgThe churrasco completo I had was enjoyed on a converted bus parked on the side of La Carretera Austral, on the way to Rio Tranquilo in Northern Patagonia (but you can get them pretty much everywhere). It starts with pan amasado, a homemade full moon–shaped Chilean bread that lives somewhere in that delicious no man's land between a fluffy white bread roll and crusty French bread. Thin slices of beef are sautéed in oil and make up the "churrasco" part of the sandwich, which is also topped with cheese. Then comes the "completo" part, which in this case meant guacamole, tomato, and chopped lettuce tossed in lemon juice and oil. And, of course, a generous layer of mayonnaise. Add string beans, and the sandwich is called a chacarero—but that's a sandwich for a different day.

La Cocino del Sole

Address: On La Carretera Austral, 120km north of Rio Tranquilo