A few days ago we got the opportunity to learn how to cook a traditional Peruvian meal at Casa Elena from Elena herself. In the “penthouse” kitchen we took turns stirring, mashing, frying, and of course eating. The dishes we prepared were Papas rellenas, Lomo saltado, and the traditional Peruvian drink Chicha morada. It was especially interesting to learn about the differences between cooking at sea level versus cooking at high altitudes. At higher altitudes, the food cooks much slower and less sugar, oil, and butter are needed. (We also learned that Daniel drools over some delicious looking mashed potatoes.) Below are my best attempts at the recipes of the food we made and some pictures of the process!
La Papa Rellena
- In a large pressure cooker put equal parts peeled whole potatoes and water and cook
- After the potatoes have been cooked, shred them into a large bowl using a potato ricer and mash them with clean hands until it becomes the consistency of a puree
- In a small separate pot put garlic, cumin, vegetable oil, and diced onions and let it cook until the onion becomes translucent (they are also good when just a little burnt)
- Then add beef, tomatoes, and a little bit of salt without stirring and leave it to cook for 20 minutes (stirring the beef at this point would make it chewy)
- Once the beef is brown, add in oregano and parsley and stir it a little to mix the herbs in. Set the meat aside to stuff potatoes.
- Form half of a potato shell about the size of a potato with the pureed potatoes in the palm of your hand
- Fill the half shell with the cooked beef, sliced olives, and a slice of a hard boiled egg then cover with another potato half shell
- Shape the stuffed potato so that the stuffing is completely enclosed.
- Fry the stuffed potato in a pan with a small amount of vegetable oil and rotate to cook each side until golden brown
Notes: The stuffed potatoes can be prepared without meat, using any vegetable (like spinach, green beans, carrots, etc.)
- Slice the lomo into bite-sized pieces and mix in a bowl with cumin, white vinegar, salt, and soy sauce
- Add the lomo to a large pan and let cook for a little bit in its own juices. Taste for saltiness and add soy sauce if more salt is needed
- In a large pot put rice and vegetable oil and continuously stir at low heat to toast the rice
- In a separate pan slice new potatoes and fry them
- Once the rice is toasted (slightly golden), add enough water so that the rice to water ratio is 2:3
- Add sliced onions to the lomo and let it sit until the onions are cooked
- Add tomatoes, parsley, and oregano on top (do not mix until just before plating)
Notes: For the rice, at lower altitudes the rice to water ratio should be 1:2. Although the french fries are commonly served on the side in restaurant, at home they are often mixed with the lomo so that they absorb the juice.
- In a large pot of water boil purple corn, freshly roasted barley, cinnamon, oranges and mandarins
- Add sugar and lemon to taste
Notes: Any fruit can be used instead of mandarins (another common fruit is pineapple).
Stuffing the potatoes, feat. Conor's cooking dance
Paloma and Linus serving up the lomo saltado
Lomo saltado and Chicha morada
(artsy photo by DRose)