Hello friends! I am very happy to be writing on the blog again and bringing you this recipe for a simple Peruvian Style Cilantro Beef Stew, known in Perú as “seco” stew. I am most fond of this dish because I made it a lot during my 2016 sabbatical, when I was away from home and feeling homesick for peruvian food. Making it for someone special encouraged me to repeat it every week. When you try it, you may notice the rich aroma of cilantro will make you hungry ?. Español aquí.

“Seco”, which means dry in Spanish, is known as such for its dry consistency and is a cilantro stew that in Peru is made with chicken, beef, duck, lamb and any other meat. The origin of Peruvian seco stew seems to be Arab and introduced in Peru by Spain, during the colonial period. Spain incorporated Arabian ingredients and spices into their gastronomy, and thus influenced our way of cooking with them too.

This recipe is based on my beloved Nicolini recipe book and is a simple version. I mention this because seco stew is a well loved dish in Peru and makes some of us very sensitive about how it’s made. There are many more elaborate versions that include beer, chicha de jora, and other delicious ingredients. However I would like to keep it simple and leave you with this recipe that I assure you that you can make regardless of wherever you are in the world,with the exception of the Peruvian chili which is optional and can be found in a Latin American supermarket. I hope you like!

Sorry for the video quality this week. I use a Nexus smartphone and I am having to difficulties for getting around the sun here in Lima…

½ kilo of beef – I used beef tenderloin steak
1 cup of onion, minced or pressed
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup of cilantro leaves, washed

1 cup water (for the cilantro)
2-3 potatoes, washed or peeled
1 cup of carrots, chopped in small squares
1 cup of peas
Peruvian yellow pepper, seedless, to taste – I used half a pepper

Add salt, pepper and cumin to the beef.

Heat an oiled pot.

Fry the beef on both sides.

Set it aside.

Blend the cilantro and water.

Brown the onion and garlic in the same pot. Add Peruvian yellow pepper (optional).

Add the cilantro and the vegetables

Add the potatoes and the beef.

Cook for about 30 minutes. You may add small amounts of water if you notice it drying up too much and to have more sauce.

En Peru seco is served with cooked potatoes and rice. I hope you enjoy!

Serves 3 to 4 people