Posted on | February 11, 2011 | 22 Comments
Much like in the US, there are dishes in Peru that are remnants from the days when slavery was common. These dishes are usually made using the “less desirable” cuts of meat and food that was cheap or even left over from the slave owners. In the US, we have chitterlings (or chitlins, as most of us call them), pig’s feet and turnip greens (the greens were left over when the the main house ate the turnips).
In Peru you find dishes like tacu tacu (made from leftover rice and beans), anticuchos (made from beef heart) and several dishes made using mondongo, better known in English as tripe.
The recipe I’m sharing today is for cau cau – a very common meal in Lima, although I personally don’t care for it. Cau cau is a stew made from beef tripe and potatoes – food that is historically cheap and easy to find in Peru. It’s one of those meals that among Peruvians would be considered a “comfort food”. It’s well known as having been influenced by the kitchens of the African slaves during the Republican era. Their creativity in combining ingredients and flavors has made cau cau a favorite dish.
For those who prefer not to eat tripe (cow’s stomach), it can be replaced with chicken. There are also seafood versions of cau cau that are very popular on the coast.
- vegetable oil for cooking
- 1/2 cup of diced onion
- 3 cloves of garlic – diced
- 4 tablespoons of aji amarillo paste
- 1 tablespoon turmeric (in Peru, this is called palillo)
- 1 lb (1/2 kilo) beef tripe, boiled and cut into cubes
- 1-1/2 quarts (or liters) of beef broth – you can use the water used to boil the tripe
- Salt, Pepper
- 1 kg potatoes (papa blanca is used in Peru), diced
- 1/2 cup green peas (arvejitas)
- 1/2 cup hierbabuena, finely chopped (spearmint)
- In a dutch oven or large stock pot, heat a couple tablespoons of oil for cooking.
- Add the onion, garlic, aji and turmeric. Saute for about 5-6 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
- Add the tripe and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the diced potato and the green peas, simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Add the hierbabuena, then salt, pepper and cumin to taste.
Serve with a side of rice, as shown in the picture. Just an FYI, the picture is with shrimp instead of mondonguito.
And just a word on the hierbabuena. When I had eaten cau cau, I thought that it was parsley. But it turns out that it is in fact spearmint, and my housekeeper Elizabeth- who is also an excellent cook and helps me so much with my recipes – says that the mint helps to cut any bad odor from the tripe.
A Dutch oven or French oven is the best thing to cook this in, because it is more like a stew. The even heating of cast iron helps it cook evenly and meld the flavors. I recommend the Le Creuset Round French Oven, because the enamel is so easy to clean – and well, if I’m being honest, it’s just so pretty! (That is an affiliate link, so if you decide to purchase, not only do you get an excellent piece of enamel ware, you also help to support the website – win/win for everybody!)
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