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Anticuchos Shopping Tips
Basic Latin ingredients include rice, achiote oil, adobo seasoning, and beans.
Anticuchos Cooking Tips
Latin food often packs a lot of heat, so try to moderate the amount of chiles and spices you use for your dish.
Anticucho de Corazoåln de Res
Coarsely chop the beef heart into around 24 even pieces about 1/2-inch/1-cm thick.
Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the potatoes, and cook until tender. Drain and cut into 1/2-inch/1-cm slices. Set aside.
Place the heart pieces in the anticuchera sauce and let marinate for 3 hours in the refrigerator. Assemble the anticuchos by sliding 3 pieces of heart onto each skewer. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the pieces. Mix the chili paste with the scallion (spring onion) and salt in a bowl.
Cook the anticuchos in a very hot ridged grill pan for 2 minutes on each side, basting, until medium rare, being careful not to overcook them so that they are still succulent. Set aside.
Place the boiled potatoes in the grill pan and cook for a few minutes until browned. Place 2 of the anticuchos in the center of each corn husk and serve immediately with the sliced potatoes, halved corncobs, and chili sauce mixture.
Rocoto Chili Paste
MAKES: approx. 1 lb 10 1/2 oz (750 g) PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
Put the chile pieces in a blender with the oil and blend together for about 5 minutes, until thoroughly blended. Strain the mixture to remove any remaining chile pieces, then transfer to a suitable container.
This condiment is best used immediately, though it will keep refrigerated for 2 days. Use it to prepare tiraditos (Peruvian raw fish dishes), tiger milk (lemon, chile, and fish sauce), and ceviches.
MAKES: 4 1/2 lb (2 kg) PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Set aside for 2 hours before using to allow the flavors to blend.
This sauce will keep for some time if refrigerated—just spoon out the amount you need for each new recipe. Use it to prepare anticuchos (grilled meat skewers), marinate chicken, or as an accompaniment to fried chicken and barbecued meat dishes.
Peru: The Cookbook by Gaston Acurio, Phaidon 2015 photograph (c) Andy Sewell
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Copyright © 2021 Andrew Zimmern . All rights reserved.
Where does the name anticuchos come from?
Anticuchos comes from &ldquoanti&rdquo meaning &lsquoEast&rsquo, as they originate in the Eastern part of the Andes, and &ldquocuchu&rdquo meaning &lsquocut&rsquo in Quechua, the local language in that part of Peru. These &ldquoEastern-style cuts (of meat)&rdquo are now popular across Peru.
While they have pre-Columbian origins, the ingredients evolved slightly once the Spanish came to the area. For example, they added garlic, an ingredient not previously available in the region.
The original Incan version tended to use llama, while later, other meats were used.
Stuffed wild game heart
Steven Rinella, known for his popular television-web show MeatEater, also is an accomplished author and speaker. He grew up like many of us, enjoying the outdoors, and as his show's title says he also loves to eat wild game. This recipe for Stuffed Wild Game Heart is among several venison heart recipes on his site and sounds great. I've never been a big fan of stuffing inside a turkey, but with the ability for heat in the oven to easily cook to the center of this stuffing, thus ensuring it's all done, this will be on my to-try list. As his recipe says, it can be made with any cloven animal. So if you have a big bison, moose or elk heart, this could be one to add to your list.
3. Stuffed Peruvian Empanadas
Who isn’t familiar with empanadas? Other countries like Argentina, Colombia and Brazil have their own delicious versions, but the Peruvian recipe is special.
The dough is simple enough, just combine flour, butter, water, and egg yolk. With the filling, however, you can get creative. One classic, Peruvian combination is beef, olives, and egg.
Step 1: Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat. (If your grill has a side burner, this is a good time to use it.) Add the garlic and cook until browned on all sides, 2 minutes per side, 6 to 8 minutes in all (you can also grill the garlic on a small skewer at a previous grill session). Transfer the garlic to a small bowl and let it cook.
Step 2: Add the cumin seeds, if using, to the hot skillet and toast them over medium heat until the cumin is very fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the toasted cumin seeds to a heatproof bowl and let them cool. Grind the cumin seeds to a fine powder in a spice mill or pound them in a mortar using a pestle. If you are using ground cumin, toast it in the skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 3: Place the cooled garlic, ground toasted cumin, and aji panca paste (or paprika or chipotles) in a food processor and puree to a fine paste. Gradually work in the wine vinegar and enough achiote oil to make a thick paste. Season the marinade with salt and black pepper to taste it should be highly seasoned.
Step 4: If you are using beef hearts, cut them lengthwise into strips that are about 1-1/2 inches wide. Cut each strip crosswise sharply on the diagonal to make pieces about 3 inches long, 1-1/2 inches wide, and 1/4 inch thick. If you are using steak, cut it into pieces of that size. Weave 3 pieces of meat back and forth onto each skewer so the flat side will be exposed to the fire.
Step 5: Arrange the skewers in a nonreactive baking dish. Spread the marinade over the meat with a spoon, thickly coating both sides. If you are using steak, let it marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 4 hours, turning it once or twice so that the meat marinates evenly. If you are using beef heart, let it marinate for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator, covered, turning it several times.
Step 6: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.
Step 7: When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the anticuchos, discarding the marinade. Arrange the anticuchos on the hot grate, with the aluminum foil shield under the exposed ends of the skewers to keep them from burning. Grill the anticuchos until they are sizzling, golden brown, and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side (anticuchos are generally eaten medium-well to well done). Baste the anticuchos on the grilled side with achiote oil after 3 minutes to keep the meat moist (you’ll need about 2 tablespoons oil). Use the poke test to check for doneness. Serve the anticuchos sizzling hot off the grill with the Yellow Chile Peanut Sauce, if desired.
Recipe: NIOSA Anticuchos
There&rsquos no need to wait for NIOSA when you can make the event&rsquos famous anticuchos at home.
3 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2-3 serrano chiles, ground up in blender
2/3 cup bacon grease or lard (optional)
Instructions: Cut meat into cubes. Combine the remainder of the ingredients (minus the bacon grease) in a blender and blend well.
Reserve ½ cup marinade and pour the remaining marinade into a large bowl. Add add the steak, cover and refrigerate. Marinate for at least 18 hours and for up to three days.
If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to using to help prevent them from burning. Skewer the meat (about 4 or 5 pieces per skewer) so they don&rsquot touch one another.
Cook the meat over a hot lump charcoal fire. The meat should be turned every 30 seconds, paying constant attention, for a total cook time of about 4 to 5 minutes.
If desired, baste the meat with a mop of hot bacon grease or lard during the cooking process. (This is the authentic NIOSA method.) You also can baste with the reserved marinade mixture.
Makes 10 skewers
Per serving: 257 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 79 mg cholesterol, 324 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 41 g protein.
Peruvian Anticuchos Recipe
Now, on to the recipe. There are a couple of notes.
- If you are using a whole beef heart, then you will need to do some prep work. While fat is our friend (especially from grass-fed cows), you need to trim it away for this recipe. You also need to trim away the blood vessels and connective tissue from the interior chambers. SAVE ALL OF THESE TRIMMINGS! You can throw them in a batch of bone broth/beef stock later and you can render the fat for cooking after you save up enough.
- Don't be afraid of the aji panca paste. It is a VERY mild pepper, with a somewhat fruity and smoky flavor. Aji panca is only a measly 500-1000 Scoville Units, while jalapenos are 3,500-5,000, and cayenne is 35,000-55,000 ( source ). You can order aji panca paste from Amazon, or try your local Hispanic grocery store. Try to buy a brand without preservatives or other additives (I like Belmont or Zócalo [organic] brand). If you just can't find it or don't want to order it, you could substitute another chile, but be careful to scale the amount you are using based on the relative hotness of your chile to the aji panca.
Peruvian Anticuchos: Marinated Beef Heart Kebabs or Stir Fry
Prep time: 5-20 minutes, plus marinating time
Total time: 15-30 minutes, plus marinating time
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
- 3 Tbsp aji panca paste
- 6 cloves garlic, finely minced or fresh-pressed (best ever garlic press!)
- 1 1/2 tsp unrefined salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 lb grass-fed beef heart, cut into chunks and trimmed of fat
- 2-3 Tbsp fat (coconut, palm, clarified butter, lard, tallow) (if stir-frying)
- 1-2 bell peppers, any color, cut into short strips (if stir frying)
- 1 medium onion, cut into short strips (if stir frying)
- Use a non-reactive airtight container (preferably glass) to combine the lime juice, aji panca paste, garlic, salt, and black pepper to make the marinade.
- Trim heart of fat, connective tissue, and blood vessels (reserve for other uses). For traditional anticuchos, cut the meat into equal-sized chunks, about 1 1/2 - 2 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick. For stir fry, cut into thin strips (pictured).
- Place trimmed heart in the marinade and mix to ensure all the pieces are covered with marinade.
- Place your airtight container in the fridge to marinate for anywhere between 1 hour to overnight. The longer it marinates, the more tender and flavor-infused the meat will be. If you are really in a time crunch, you can marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
- You have 2 options for cooking: grill or stir fry. Skewered and grilled is the traditional method of preparation, but I enjoy stir frying the meat. The skewer method makes these more of an appetizer than a main course, while the stir fry lets you make it into a full meal.
- GRILLING INSTRUCTIONS: Pre-heat grill (gas or charcoal will work) to be HOT and ready for direct heat cooking. Optional: grill indoors on a HOT cast iron grill pan. Note: this method doesn't work as well as grilling outdoors, but if you live in a lame condo building like I do that suddenly and without reason outlaws outdoor grilling, this is your only option aside from the stir-fry.
- Skewer heart pieces, about 3-4 per skewer. Reserve some marinade. I've never soaked bamboo skewers before (and never had any catch on fire), but most recipes tell you to. If you are so inclined, soak them in a container of water for 30 minutes before adding meat.
- Grill 3-5 minutes per side, brushing with additional marinade if desired. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Heart gets tough and rubbery if overcooked -- you want it to be medium rare or at most medium to be tender and delicious.
- Serve immediately.
- STIR-FRY INSTRUCTIONS: You will need 2 medium to large skillets. Remove meat from marinade and let drain on paper towels. First, cut your pepper(s) and onion into thin short strips. Then, in one pan, sautee onions and peppers until soft in a little fat of choice. Add a few spoonfuls of leftover marinade (or all of it) and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes after adding marinade. If heart is not ready at the exact same time, turn heat to low while heart finishes cooking.
- At the same time, in second large skillet, cook heart over medium heat in a little of your oil of choice, about 2-4 minutes per side. A 12 inch skillet should be large enough to accommodate the next step.
- After both the heart and the vegetables are cooked, add vegetables to the large skillet with beef heart and stir to combine. Cook together for about 1-2 minutes and stir to combine well as you cook.
- Plate and serve immediately, alone or with an additional side. Platanos maduros (fried ripe plantains) or tostones (twice-fried green plantains) are excellent options for a starchy side.
Beef heart marinating in lime juice, aji panca paste, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Peppers and onion ready to combine with the beef heart for anticuchos: stir-fry style.
Picarones or Peruvian doughnuts are a typical Peruvian treat and are as good as American Doughnuts but are easier to make. This is a traditional Picarones recipe that’s simple to make and the resulting Picarones will tempt you to devour them all. This recipe uses butternut squash but you can also use pumpkin (which is part of the squash family) and sweet potato.
In fact, a mix of all three is a good way to change the flavors. This would not be considered an easy recipe but with a little care and some practice you can make delicious desserts that accompany any Peruvian meal, especially anticuchos. This is classic street food that has made it into the homes and restaurants of the entire country. Finding picarones on the menu of a Peruvian restaurant overseas is always a treat and if you get the chance to try them don’t hesitate to order.
There is some debate over the origin of picarones. Several countries claim to be the inventor of the dessert. In February 2016 a facebook group called Marca Chile (Brand Chile) published an article about ‘Chilean Picarones’.
The article went viral with hundreds of shares. Peruvians were not happy claiming that Peruvian Picarones are the original and best. And we guess Bolivians, who also claim the glory for inventing picarones, also took offence.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter who invented the dish. What matters is who prepares it best. Peruvians do an excellent job of it and it’s a regular dish in almost every household and restaurant. If we look at the history of the dish we can trace it back to Spanish buñuelos which are essentially balls of fried dough. You can find them in most parts of Spain.
I love to eat Picarones with Lucuma Ice Cream. Warning: The flavor explosion followed by sugar withdrawal symptoms might make you sleepy, but very happy. Deep-fried and delicious, picarones are not for dieters, but the pumpkin or squash does contain good levels of nutrients.
Bolivian Anticucho - Heart meat with potatoes and peanuts sauce.
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Calories per serving: 194
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