Posted on | November 19, 2010 | 2 Comments
Anticuchos are the #1 street food in Peru. I would say that they are second only to ceviche as to being the consummate Peruvian dish. In fact, if you ever come to Peru, you’ll find people will ask these questions all the time: “Have you tried ceviche? Have you tried anticuchos?”
I think it’s kind of funny that people (like taxi drivers) still ask me this question even after I tell them I’ve been here almost seven years. How could anyone possibly live here that long and never try anticuchos?
Well, the truth is there probably are a lot of people who come to the country and never try them, because of one simple fact – they’re made of beef heart. Anticuchos are one of those foods that were created by slaves working on the haciendas back in the day. They were given all the leftover and “undesirable” bits of food that the household didn’t want, and these leftovers were used to create some of the best and most loved Peruvian foods.
I’ve noticed that many of my fellow Americans (from the US) have an aversion to organ meats. I myself don’t care for much – I can stand liver, but I don’t like it – and just keep anything like kidneys, brain or tripe far, far away from me, please.
But the heart isn’t like other organs. As you probably remember from science class, the heart is a muscle and so isn’t really all that different from other cuts of meat. To me, it tastes pretty much like a steak.
So, if it just tastes like steak, what’s the big deal about anticuchos?
It’s all in the seasonings.
- 1 beef heart
- 1 cup of aji panca paste
- 2 tbsp of garlic paste
- 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp ground oregano
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- salt, pepper and cumin to taste
- Wash the heart thoroughly, removing any fat. Cut into 1/2 inch slices about 2″ square. Set aside.
- Put the rest of the ingredients in the blender or food processor, and blend.
- Pour the mixture over the anticuchos in a large bowl. If you like, save some of the marinade aside to use for basting the meat as it cooks.
- Let them sit for at least 2-3 hours. You can refrigerate overnight.
- After marinating, put the anticuchos on bamboo or cane skewers, shishkabob style.
- Cook on the grill or over open flame. Think of them as steak – I like mine a little bit pink on the inside.
Serve on a platter with corn on the cob and potatoes. The potatoes are boiled whole, then peeled and cut into thick slices which are then fried golden.
Don’t forget to serve it with a side of aji rocoto dipping sauce!
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