Taste of the Andes: (Seco de Carne/Cilantro Beef Stew)
Did you know that the Andes goes through Perú, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile?
Did you also know that tortillas are not a part of Perú’s cuisine?
Perúvian cuisine is a melting-pot of different flavors and cultures,
I love how aromatic and healthy cilantro is; it’s a wonderful herb with several benefits. The recipe that I am sharing today has cilantro as the principal source of flavor, and it is one of my favorites.
Seco is one of the most popular recipes of Peruvian cuisine, and one of the main elements of traditional “comida criolla,” which is the name we give to food from the coastal region of the country or with African influence. The roots of this dish in our gastronomy is very old; a product of the Arab influence that the Spanish brought with them during the colonial times. Seco was originally prepared in the northern part of the country, but it is now eaten all over Peru. When you try it, you will see why this dish has rapidly spread throughout the region, all done, with no hesitation.
Thanks to the cilantro this entrée’s flavor is intense and delicious. We usually have this dish with white fluffy rice and canary beans on the side. Although it is traditionally made with meat, like: beef, chicken or goat, the recipe allows for some variations and could be made with other kinds of meat, fish, seafood, or even just vegetables. So, for all my vegetarian friends, there is hope in the gastronomical world of Peru.
Seco de Carne (Cilantro Beef Stew)
|Servings: 8 people || Time: 1.5 hours|
Cuisine genre: Vegan | Vegetarian | Omnivorous
Author: Stacy Annette Gonzalez & Hilda J Gonzalez
- 4 pounds of meat (chicken, beef, lamb, etc)
- 2 bunches of cilantro
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1/2 a bag of peas
- 3 bell peppers (orange, red or yellow)
- 1 large beefsteak tomatoe
- 1 medium sized onion
- 4 tablespoons of wine (preferably red)
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of chopped or liquefied garlic
- 1 tablespoon of aji amarillo
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of of ajinomoto
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder
First, take your washed bunch (2 bunches) of cilantro and take the leaves off the stalks, once that is done put the ingredients in a blender, then do the same to the bunch of parsley. Afterwards, take your tomatoe and onion and dice them, set aside your 4 tablespoons of red wine.
Once you have all of these ingredients measured, diced and chopped, put them all in the blender and blend on high for 10 seconds, then blend on pulse for 5 seconds. Make sure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly blended, there should be no large residual or pieces.
Set the cilantro blend aside.
Then, take a large pot and heat it on the stove to “high,” gather your 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon of aji amarillo. Wait a few minutes for the pot to heat, once it’s heated add the olive oil, minced garlic, stir the olive oil and garlic until golden, then add your measurement of aji amarillo.
Your choice of meat should already be washed and chopped, once the garlic is golden add the chopped meat and the cilantro blend to the pot.
The pot should still be on a high setting, until it reaches a boil, once the ingredients are boiling or bubbling, turn the heat down 1 to 3 notches or to a medium heat, depending on your stove.
While it’s boiling, add your teaspoon of turmeric powder, teaspoon of salt, 1/4 of ajinomoto, 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, stir, cover your pot and cook for 1 hour.
After the hour, add the 1/2 bag of peas, and the chopped bell peppers and mix into the cilantro stew. Taste the stew and add anything that you think it might need, like salt. After, set aside and get started on the rice.
- 2 cups of rice
- 1 tablespoon of garlic
- 3 cups of water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- Wash and rinse rice 3 times
- Set the stove to high
- Place olive oil and garlic in a medium sized pot
- Let the garlic golden
- Place the 2 cups of rinsed rice on top of garlic
- Place the 3 cups of water
- Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt
After you complete this step, leave the pot of rice on high until you see “holes” form in the rice, once you see that, lower the heat to medium or low depending on your stove, I have 8 notches, so I lower it to 4. Then, cover the pot of rice and cook it for 12 minutes.
Your rice should be fluffy and not soggy or watery, if it is, you might have added too much water, moved the heat too early or did not cook it long enough.
Other than that, you should have white and fluffy rice.
You are now ready to set your plate up & serve your guests!
Voila! You have officially made a traditional Peruvian dish! You can dress up your Seco de Carne, or Peruvian Cilantro Stew whichever way you want, it goes great with a salad, a side of veggies, potatoes, etc, the options are endless and as diverse as this dish is!
I chose to stylize and contrast the flavor with diced celery and green beans.
I hope you have all enjoyed this recipe!
“Speak Spanish, Kiss French, Dress Italian, Spend Arab, Party Caribbean, Eat Peruvian.” – Anon.