Estofado de pollo

Recipe: Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)

This is one of those dishes that I used to hate as a kid and now I crave when homesickness kicks in. I think the main reason I dreaded it was that my mum or aunties cooked it too often.

I think mum has forgotten my aversion to estofado because she didn’t tease me when I asked for her recipe last time I spoke to her. Turns out that her recipe is simpler than what I imagined, and I managed to make it taste virtually the same. Except that now I like it :)

Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)
Yield: 6-7 servings

Estofado de pollo

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1.85kg chicken drumsticks
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.25 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 0.5 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a pot. Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper and brown. Reserve.
  2. Lower the heat, add more ghee or oil if needed and cook the onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until very soft and translucent.
  3. Add the tomato paste, chicken, chicken broth, carrot and potatoes. Stir, cover and cook until the chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and check the seasoning.
  5. Serve with white rice and/or vegetables.

Recipe: Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo (smashed plantains, mussels and chorizo)

Last time I went to Tienda Latina to buy food for my birthday I noticed they had sliced and pre-cooked ripe plantains in the freezer. I grabbed a bag without even asking for the price and started thinking what to do with them.

Frozen sliced ripe plantain

It didn’t take me too long to decide: I wanted to make a version of majarisco, a dish from the North of Perú that features plátano majado (smashed plantains) and seafood. To keep things simple, I used frozen mussels and chorizo (also bought at Tienda Latina) for this version.

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo
Yield: 5-6 servings

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo

Ingredients

  • 500g frozen pre-cooked plantains (or 500g fresh plantains, sliced and cooked in fat)
  • 500g chorizo
  • 1-2 Tb fat of choice (I used ghee)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tb chilli paste (I use Peruvian ají panca but any kind will do)
  • 1kg frozen mussels
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fish (or vegetable) stock
  • 2 Tb apple cider vinegar

To serve:

Directions

  1. Smash plantains with a pestle or similar heavy object.
  2. Slice chorizo.
  3. Chop onion and garlic, cook in fat on medium heat until soft. Add chilli paste.
  4. Add chorizo, stir until completely cooked.
  5. Add plantains, stir.
  6. Add mussels, wine, fish stock and vinegar, reduce until a thick sauce is formed.
  7. Serve with greens and salsa criolla, garnish with coriander.

Recipe: Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables

As much as I love collecting and trying new recipes, there are some times when I have a particular craving and I know I won’t find the recipe in a cookbook. Luckily, it wasn’t anything too crazy or complicated to make. Hope you like it as much as I did.

Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables
Yield: 5-6 servings

Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 medium capsicum
  • 1 medium fennel
  • 1 medium onion
  • 200g Portobello mushrooms
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt

Pesto

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup macadamias
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Beef

  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice
  • 1kg ground beef
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 170°C.
  2. Chop the vegetables in large chunks, place in a large roasting tray, season with olive oil and salt.
  3. Wrap garlic cloves, unpeeled, in foil and place in a corner of the roasting tray.
  4. Roast vegetables for 40-50 minutes.
  5. Turn off oven and remove garlic from tray (leave the tray in the oven to keep the rest of the vegetables warm), squeeze cloves into the jug of a food processor or blender along with the rest of the pesto ingredients. Process until it reaches desired consistency, season to taste.
  6. Heat fat of choice in a saucepan and brown meat. Season with salt and pepper, stir until cooked through.
  7. Mix beef and pesto and serve on top of vegetables.

Recipe: Fragrant roasted chicken with cinnamon pumpkin and broccolini

I’ve been using this awesome recipe for roasting chicken for the past few months. It’s simple and fool-proof, and it gives you the flexibility of using any spices you want. I often use a mix of rosemary and sage salts or a mix of rosemary and lemon salts. This time I used a mix of Moroccan spices and paired it up with cinnamon-y pumpkin and broccolini. Delicious!

Fragrant roast chicken

Fragrant roasted chicken with cinnamon pumpkin and broccolini
Yield: 4 servings

Fragrant roast chicken w cinnamon pumpkin and broccolini

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 chicken (pastured if possible)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Cinnamon pumpkin

  • 1/2 small butternut pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Broccolini

  • 1 bunch broccolini

Directions

Chicken

  1. Mix the spices to season the chicken. Follow Simone’s instructions.

Cinnamon pumpkin

  1. Peel and cube pumpkin.
  2. Place in a baking sheet, season with cinnamon and salt and drizzle with melted coconut oil.
  3. Bake at 180°C for about 40 minutes, until soft.

Broccolini

  1. Steam. Serve with chicken and pumpkin.

Recipe: Peruvian osso buco

Gastón Acurio is without a doubt the most important Peruvian chef of all times. In his Facebook page he promotes Peruvian restaurants back home and overseas, and shares recipes with his followers. Like Peruvian mums, he doesn’t use quantities. He might indicate approximates (e.g. “a lot”, “a pinch”), but you have to figure out exact amounts by yourself. This is not hard to do if you have any experience with cooking Peruvian dishes but can become daunting if you don’t.

The first time I made Gastón’s recipe for osso buco I eyeballed the quantities and the result was amazing. I didn’t write the recipe down so I “had to” make it again. The recipe calls for ají panca, which is a dried Peruvian red chilli. You can find it (whole or in paste) in some shops like Fiji Market, Tierras Latinas and online (just Google “buy aji panca”). If you can’t be bothered just use any red chilli paste.

Gastón recommends serving it with pasta. My (low carb) version features cauliflower mash, but you can make it starchier (and more Peruvian) if you serve it with cassava.

Peruvian osso buco
Yield: 4 servings

Peruvian osso buco

Ingredients

Osso buco

  • 4 pieces osso buco (about 1.5 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice (tallow or ghee recommended)
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 2 celery stalks, grated
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ají panca paste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon porcini powder (or minced dried and rehydrated mushrooms)

Cauliflower mash

  • 750 g frozen cauliflower
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Osso buco

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of fat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Brown osso buco and reserve.
  2. Lower heat, add 1 tablespoon of fat, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ají panca. Cook until vegetables are soft (5-10 minutes).
  3. Add meat, season with plenty of salt and pepper, add passata, broth, wine, bay leave and porcini powder.
  4. Cover and let simmer until tender (about 2.5 hours). Towards the end of the cooking period make the mash (instructions below).
  5. Remove the meat the pot and, if desired, crank the heat up with the lid off to reduce the sauce.
  6. Serve with cauliflower mash.

Cauliflower mash

  1. Steam cauliflower until soft.
  2. Mash in a food processor, add butter, and season with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Pork chops and Pardo’s-style salad

Pork chops are pork chops, no explanation required. I don’t have them often because I usually buy cheaper cuts for slow cooking but I had a sudden craving for chops that I couldn’t ignore. Mum used to serve them with rice and applesauce and, if I remember correctly, she would throw in a bit of Peruvian Russian-style salad (beetroot, potato, green beans, peas, apple, avocado, mayo) in the rare occasions she remembered we should eat vegetables, too. I was planning on making the same exact “Russian” salad to go with my chops but laziness struck and I ended with a version closer to one of the salads served in a famous Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant (Pardo’s Chicken).

I bought my chops from Melanda Park who fortunately have returned to Eveleigh Markets after a long absence. Please don’t go away again, guys.

Pork chops and Pardo’s-style salad
Yield: 4 servings

Pork chops and Pardo's-style salad

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops

Salad

  • 2 small beetroots
  • 2 small carrots
  • a handful of green beans
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 apple
  • lettuce
  • homemade mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Peel and cut beetroot and carrots in thick batons (sort of like potato chips). Steam them separately, let cool down.
  2. Trim and steam green beans, let cool down
  3. Slice apples and avocado.
  4. Tear or chop lettuce.
  5. Heat up your grill and barbecue your pork chops.
  6. Serve the veggies lined up on top of the lettuce with a big dollop of mayo on top, alongside the chops. Season and dig in.

Recipe: Cauliflower plov

My introduction to plov, a very simple dish made with rice, lamb and carrots, was in an Uygur restaurant in Sydney. Turns out this dish is traditional also in Uzbekistan and Siberia. I wanted to make a low carb version based on what I remembered from Kiroran Silk Road and my trip to Russia, plus a few recipes from the internet. The result? Well, cauliflower doesn’t absorb liquids as rice does, so it was more soupy and less oily in appearance than the real deal. I also used a ton of grated carrots instead of chopped, which made it a bit too sweet for my taste. So I kinda failed in reproducing the original dish but the result was just as tasty and comforting.

Cauliflower plov
Yield: 6-8 servings

Cauliflower plov

Ingredients

  • 1 kg lamb loin chops
  • 4 tablespoons lamb fat or tallow
  • 1 very large or 2 small heads cauliflower
  • 2 large onions
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2-3 cups lamb bone broth
  • salt and pepper

Salad

  • green cabbage
  • cucumber
  • radishes
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • splash of olive oil
  • salt
  • dill

To serve

  • dill

Directions

  1. Cut lamb chops in cubes.
  2. Cut cauliflower florets and pulse in a food processor until it resembles rice.
  3. Peel and grate the carrots.
  4. Slice onions.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons fat in a large pot and brown lamb. Reserve.
  6. Lower the heat, melt 2 tablespoons of fat, and add onions and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add spices, cook for another couple of minutes.
  8. Add carrots, cauliflower, lamb and broth. Cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Serve with chopped dill on top.

Salad

  1. Thinly slice the vegetables.
  2. Place the radishes and cucumbers on a colander and salt them. Let them release water, drain them and mix them with the cabbage.
  3. Add vinegar, oil and chopped dill.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad gets better with time.

Recipe: Chicken heart anticuchos

This is a tasty way to get more offal in your diet. Heart is a great source of iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is fundamental for the electron transport chain of mitochondria (the energy-producing cells in your body). Get chicken hearts from pastured chickens if possible (Feather and Bone is a great source) and fire up your grill for this twist on classic Peruvian street food (the original version uses cow’s heart). If you’re not keen on eating heart you can try this version with kangaroo.

Chicken heart anticuchos
Yield: 2 servings

Chicken heart anticuchos

Ingredients

  • 500g chicken hearts

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ají panca paste (Peruvian red chilli
  • paste, or substitute with your favourite)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

To serve

  • 1 large piece cassava (approximately 125g)
  • ghee or butter
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Remove the thin membrane that surrounds the hearts and trim the upper fatty/vascular part. Slice them horizontally (you’ll end up with donut-shaped slices).
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients pour over hearts in a ziplock bag and marinate for at least 6 hours.
  3. Boil cassava for 20-30 minutes until soft.
  4. In the meantime, turn on your BBQ (you’ll be using the flat part) or heat up a stovetop grill pan.
  5. Drain cassava, discard hard bit in the middle, cut in pieces and fry in ghee or butter. Season with salt.
  6. Cook marinated hearts (no need to drain the marinade) for ~10 minutes, flipping them occasionally. Season with salt.
  7. Serve with fried cassava, salad and your favourite condiment (I served it with Peruvian chilli mayo).

Recipe: Arroz con pato (Peruvian duck with rice)

Yes, rice. Not cauliflower rice, but real rice. Although I consider white rice a relatively safe starch, I don’t eat it very often because it can stuff up my digestion and make me chubby. After 3+ years of not cooking rice, Alvaro asked me to make arroz con pato (literally “duck with rice”) for his birthday.

Arroz con pato (Peruvian duck with rice)
Yield: 6 servings

Arroz con pato

Ingredients

  • 6 duck marylands
  • 175 ml gluten-free beer
  • 175 ml plain kombucha or chicha de jora
  • 1 teaspoon fat (duck fat recommended)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ají amarillo (yellow chilli powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 25 g pumpkin, grated
  • 1/2 litre chicken broth
  • 500 g medium-grain white rice
  • 75 g pumpkin, diced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 red capsicum
  • salt and pepper
  • salsa criolla, to serve

Directions

  1. Marinate the marylands in a large ziplock bag with the beer and kombucha overnight.
  2. Drain the marylands and keep the marinade.
  3. Heat the fat in a large pot, brown the marylands in batches and set aside.
  4. The marylands will release a lot of fat (sweet!). If the amount makes you gag, get rid of some. Otherwise, set the temperature to low and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, add the chilli and cumin and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. While the aderezo cooks, chop the stalks and leaves of the coriander, and blend with just enough broth to make a paste.
  6. Add the coriander paste and grated pumpkin to the pot, cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the marylands, marinade and rest of the broth, cover pot and cook for 1 1/5 hours.
  8. In the meantime, roast the capsicum directly on the open fire of your stove or grill, or in a hot oven (210+ degrees), turning it periodically until the skin is completely black. Carefully remove the skin, stem and seeds and cut the flesh in strips. Reserve.
  9. When the marylands are cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm.
  10. Add rice to the pot, cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Add diced pumpkin, cook for another 10 minutes.
  12. Cook the peas in boiling water with salt (don’t overcook them, you want them bright green).
  13. Season rice with salt and pepper, serve topped with peas and capsicum, with duck and salsa criolla on the side.

Recipe: Speck, beef & mushrooms

No fancy story behind this dish. I was browsing Feather and Bone‘s weekly list to order meat and noticed they had speck ends for cooking. They are cheaper than bacon and ham, and come from the same top-quality piggies. Mega win.

Speck, beef & mushrooms
Yield: 8 servings

Speck, beef & mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 500 g speck ends, cut in chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 bulbs fennel, sliced
  • 1 tbsp lard (optional)
  • 500 g mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary salt + 1/2 tsp sage salt (or 1/8 tsp dried rosemary + 1/8 tsp dried sage + 3/4 tsp salt)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • roasted Brussel sprouts, to serve

Directions

  1. Brown speck at medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Remove with slotted spoon, keep fat in the pot.
  2. Brown beef mince. Reserve and keep fat in the pot.
  3. Turn heat to low, add onions and fennel, stir to coat with the fat (you can add a tablespoon of lard if your speck didn’t render too much fat), put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Add speck and beef mince, mix and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Add mushrooms, mix and cook for 1 hour.
  6. Season with herbed salts (or herbs + salt) and pepper.
  7. Serve with roasted Brussel sprouts.