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Peru - Seco de Carne
Typical of the Comida Criolla of coastal Peru, Secos are very
popular. they are usually made from beef, chicken or goat, but it is
not unheard of to use other meats or fish, or even just vegetables.
The key ingredient is lots of Cilantro. As shown, the ingredients are
cut for buffet service, see Note-5 for table
Beef, Lean (1)
Olive Oil (more)
Aji Amarillo Paste (4)
Prep - (55 min)
Run - (1-3/4 hr)
- Cut BEEF into 1-1/2 inch cubes (larger for table service).
- Chop ONION small.
- Crush GARLIC and chop fine.
- Peel POTATOES and cube about the same size as the Beef.
Hold in cold water until needed.
- Pull CILLANTRO leaves from larger stems. Measure is tightly
packed - err on the high side. Place in a blender with 1/3
cup water and blend to a liquid.
- Thaw PEAS. Measure is thawed.
- Grind CUMIN.
- In a spacious sauté pan, heat 4 T Oil and fry
Beef over high heat, tumbling until medium browned. I use
a 3-1/2 quart sauté pan and fry in two batche. A coverable
wok would also work fine. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add 2 T Oil, heat and fry Onions, stirring until
light golden. Stir in Garlic and fry stirring until it is
- Stir in Aji Amarillo Paste, then Cilantro, 1 cup
Water, Cumin and Beef. Season with Salt
and Pepper. Simmer covered 45 minutes or until Beef is very
- Stir in Potatoes. bring to a boil and simmer covered for
another 20 minutes. Adjust liquid as needed, despite the name
"seco" there should be enough sauce to spoon over the meat.
- Stir in Peas and simmer another 2 minutes (5 minutes for
- Serve hot, accompanied by Steamed Rice and/or mashed Peruano
- Beef: Any flavorful stewing cut will
do fine. Round will take longer to cook tender than Chuck.
- Potatoes: White Rose is a good choice
here. Avoid Yukon Gold type potatoes as they turn to mush if cooked
just a little long. For details see our
- Cilantro: That's a lot of Cilantro,
don't under-buy. Unlike parsley it's permissible to use smaller stems
with Cilantro. Measure is packed firm, but it's springy and not easy
to measure, so err on the generous side.
- Aji Amarillo Paste: Fresh Aji
Amarillos (Peruvian Yellow Chilis) are very difficult to find in
North America, but many markets serving a South American community
will have the paste. For details see our
Aji Amarillo page.
- Service & Variations: As shown,
this dish was cut for buffet service. For table service, the Meat is
usually cut into larger 2 to 2-2/2 inch chunks, requiring a little
more cooking time. The Potatoes are cut large to match. The plate also
usually includes a scoop of white rice and a scoop of mashed Peruano
Beans (Canary Beans). A spoon of the sauce is poured over the meat
and potatoes. In some recipes, some Spinach leaves are added with
the Cilantro to make a greener sauce. Chili leaves would also work
for this (they are not hot).
- U.S. measure: t=teaspoon,
T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce,
#=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required
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