Food from the Peruvian Heart: Anticuchos skewers
Yes, they look like brochettes. No, they aren’t quite that.
Anticuchos were eaten during the Inca Empire, prepared with llama meat, and weren’t served on a stick. It is believed that the term comes from the Quechua antikuchu (anti: ‘Andes’ + kuchu: ‘court’ or uchu: ‘porridge, mix’). When the Spaniards came, they had the meat strung on sticks as skewers, and changed the llama for beef. They also brought some ingredients which were combined with the traditional recipe, such as garlic.
During the Vice-Royalty of Peru, the Spaniards brought slaves from Africa, who adopted the dish. Since slaves could only eat what their “owners” gave them, dismissed offal given as food, they had to come up with a dish that would be more attractive to them. That is how “anticuchos de corazón de res” were born, using the same recipe but with cows’ hearts.
How to prepare Anticuchos
Nowadays, you can eat anticuchos prepared with other types of meat, such as chicken, fish, seafood and guinea pig, but the most popular one (and the traditional one) is that with beef heart, which should be cut in small chunks of about 5×5 cm, cutting off the fat. To season the meat, put vinegar, pepper, cumin, Peruvian red pepper, oregano, salt and garlic in a bowl. Then, add the chunks and let them marinate for at least two hours, after which you should thread them onto wooden skewers, three pieces per skewer. Then, heat up a charcoal grill.
Next, put the rest of the marinade on another bowl and mix with a lot of oil, to then smear the anticuchos with it while they’re being grilled. You should use (if possible) a brush made of frayed corn leaves. After the anticuchos have been cooked, you can serve them with potatoes and corn.
½ kg beef heart
1 tbsp of pepper
1 tbsp of cumin
2 tbsp of garlic
½ glass of vinegar
2 tbsp of Peruvian red pepper
½ tsp of oregano (if you wish)
1 brush made of corn leaves