Ingredients: roasted garlic, aji amarillo chile powder, sea salt, cumin, black pepper, annatto
Anticucho, pronounced “ahn-ti-ko-cho”, is considered by some to be Peru's national snack, while others have described this as Peruvian soul food. In Lima and other larger cities in Peru, you can find street vendors grilling these spicy kebabs made to order. Anticuchos, which loosely translates to “cut stew meat”, are inexpensive dishes that originated in Peru and date back to the 1500s. Over the years this dish has also become popular in Bolivia and Chile.
Peruvian anticuchos are typically made with beef heart, but may also be made with chicken or steak. The meat is frequently marinated in vinegar and spices. Anticuchos often come with a boiled potato or bread on the end of the skewer. In a family setting, Anticuchos are most often not served as the main course of a meal, but instead a complement to other grilled meats and is frequently served with side dishes like choripanes (a crusty sausage sandwich), potatoes and salads.
Anticuchos were popular with the Incas, and Spanish conquistadors made mention of these in writings during the 16th century. The Spanish began tweaking the recipe and replaced the traditional llama meat with beef and added other ingredients such as garlic.
Peruvian cuisine is among the most varied in the world. It's a representation of its diverse topography which has three distinctive areas – the coastal region, the Andean highlands and the jungle. It has also received a good deal of influence from various immigrant cultures that have settled in the area over the years. Peruvian cuisine combines Pre-Inca and Inca staple foods with African, Asian, Basque, British, French, Italian and Spanish cuisine. This fusion of the culture, traditions and flavors is further diversified within each region as each town has its own local cuisine and culinary traditions, depending on climate and geography, which dictates different ingredients indigenous to each area.
Anticuchos are popular year round but consumption of these kebabs is greatest during Fiestas Patrias. These are Peruvian National Holidays which celebrates Peru's independence from the Spanish Empire. Fiestas Patrias officially consists of three days - June 24th is Countrymans day (also called Farmer’s Day); July 28th honors José de San Martín, known as Peru's liberator, who proclaimed Peru's independence on this day in 1821; July 29th honors the National Police and Armed Forces of Peru.
The three traditional staples of Peruvian cooking are potatoes, corn and chile peppers. It is believed that 99% of all the world’s potatoes come from a subspecies of potato native to Peru. There are approximately 4,000 different varieties of potatoes grown in Peru.
Corn, called choclo, has been planted in Peru since at least 1200 BC. Early Peruvian farmers became quite sophisticated in creating hardy new varieties that thrived in the various climates and terrains. An early Spanish chronicler wrote how throughout ancient Peru corn could be found in a wide variety of colors including black, purple, red, white, yellow and mixed. Today Peruvian farmers harvest 50+ varieties of corn, more than anywhere else on Earth.
Considered one of the first spices ever used to flavor Peruvian cooking, chiles have been grown in Peru for approximately 7,000 years. Today, there are more than 300 varieties of chile peppers cultivated in Peru. One of the most recognized chiles in Peru is the Aji Amarillo Chile, which translates to yellow chile, and is used to flavor almost every dish from vegetables to meat and fish.
You can use this either as a dry rub or make a marinade. As a dry rub we recommend using 1 tbsp of seasoning per lb of meat. As a marinade, mix ¼ cup of Peruvian Anticucho Seasoning with ½ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of vinegar, blend until evenly mixed. Pour over the beef hearts, steak or chicken while evenly distributing so all pieces are well covered and are able to absorb the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before grilling.
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