Rick Cooks Home Pebre, Chancho en Piedra, and Pico de Gallo

Pebre is a  Chilean piquant sauce used as a condiment many criollo dishes, such as empanadas. Also called Salsa Verde, the primary ingredients are cilantro, onion, garlic, and aj or chile. Its use and ingredients put it in the same category as Mexican Salsa Fresca, Californian Salsa Picante, and New Mexican Pico de Gallo ("Rooster's Beak", named for a Mexican chile).

There are two basic types of salsa or pebre. Salsa usually applies to a relish made with fresh ingredients and served on the side or as a bocadillo (hors d'oeuvres). Pebre usually applies to a condiment or sauce (not to be confused with salsa) which can be (and usually is) bottled, and is added to soups and stews, or used like ketchup. No rules distinguish the two types, except that Salsa Fresca, Chancho en Piedra, and Pico de Gallo can't be bottled but is sometimes sold "fresh" or in glass jars.

Pebre is an excellent condiment for soups, stews, seafood, or steak. With the addition of chopped fresh tomato, Pebre becomes the Chilean Salsa, Chancho en Piedra ("Pig on a Rock" -- the name originates from chanchar en piedra which means to grind in a stone mortar). This salsa is similar to Pico de Gallo and can be served on bread as a tapenade or as a dip. Either can be mixed with mashed avocados to make guacamole.

For comparison, I have also included a good recipe for Pico de Gallo. For variation, you can add or substitute tomatillos, a mild chile such as Anaheim, or bell pepper (any color). You can also add chopped cucumbers. There are no rules.

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1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
4 scallions
3 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon or lime juice
1 small ají or chile, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop the cilantro, parsley, scallions, and garlic. Mix in a small nonreactive bowl with the olive oils and lemon juice. Add the chopped chile, salt, and pepper to taste. Let macerate in refrigerator at least one hour, preferably overnight.

Chancho en Piedra

Make the Pebre as above, but add 1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped. If the tomato is acid, add a pinch of sugar and use less lemon juice.

Pico de Gallo

from Barry Brumitt (Dinner Co-op)

2 T diced onion
2 c tomatoes chopped into in. cubes
2 serrano chiles
2 T finely chopped cilantro (fresh is important)
2 t sugar
c Mexican beer
2 t salt
1 lime, juiced

Put onion in strainer and rinse with hot water and drain. Combine ingredients and mix well. Let refrigerate for 30+ minutes. Drink the rest of the beer.