Anticuchos is probably the first street food you will try upon arriving in Peru. Sellers are everywhere and there is no mistaking that sweet smoky aroma that you can smell from a mile away. Most Western tourists balk at the thought of eating beef hearts, but if you give it a try, you will find that the meat is not gamey, but rather tender and almost sweet. It is usually served on a stick and roasted on open charcoal. A boiled potato is added on the end right before serving.
(Makes 8-10 servings)
2 1⁄2 lbs of fresh beef heart, thinly sliced and cut into squares of about 2 inches long
1 cup red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
5 big fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of finely minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of finely minced fresh cilantro
4 dried chilies
1 1⁄2 cups oil
10 -12 ears corn on the cob, cooked (save some of the husk)
10 -12 boiled potatoes, peeled
Place the pieces of heart in a glass or ceramic tray.
Previously, soak the chiles in hot water until they are soft, devein and take the seeds off. If you want you can keep some of the seeds to make it spicier. In Peru we use aji panca, but this works well too.
Blend the vinegar, garlic, aji panca (or dried chile), and all other ingredients with 1/2 cup of the oil until you have a soft paste.
Pour it on the pieces of heart and distribute evenly so all pieces are well covered and can absorb the marinade. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Do not let them marinade for too long or they will dry out because of the vinegar.
In the meantime, place thick bamboo skewers to soak in water so they don’t burn when they go on the grill.
Use a charcoal grill and make sure the coals are very hot before you start.
Stick three or four pieces of heart in each skewer, so that the meat lays flat.
Save the rest of the marinade in a cup or small bowl and add the rest of the oil to it, mixing well. This will be used for basting the anticuchos on the grill.
Tie some pieces of fresh corn husk with a string made out of some more husk and shred them half the way to make a kind of brush and use it for basting. (You can use dry husk too but you need to soak it for a while in warm water to make it flexible and then pat it dry before you use it).
When the coals are ready and the grill is hot place the anticuchos flat on the grill and baste them generously with the leftover marinade and oil mix.
This will drip and cause the coals to flame, make sure it flames over because this is what gives the anticuchos their distinctive flavor.
Let anticuchos cook for about 1 minute and a half on each side. DO NOT OVERCOOK! They will dry out and become tough. Medium or medium well is fine. Turn them over continuously and keep basting and flaming until they are done.
Hold two or three at a time to turn them over quickly.
At the same time, place the pieces of corn and potatoes on a corner of the grill, baste them with the same marinade and allow them to be flamed too.
Serve three skewers in each plate, accompanied by one piece of corn and one potato. You can also cut the potatoes in half (across not length wise) and stick a piece at the end of each skewer.
Serve hot, right out of the grill, don’t let it get cold! ENJOY! :P.