Anticuchos de corazón recipe (beef heart skewers) and their history

As I promised on my quirky travel food post, today’s Hostel Cooking series will feature a simple anticuchos de corazón recipe. For my beloved gringos out there: Peruvian beef heart skewers! 😉 Additionally, I will tell you a little bit about their history. Hope you enjoy both the recipe and brief history lesson!

anticuchos de corazón recipe, beef heart skewers

Anticuchos de corazón at a street stall in Perú (Codilicious, Flickr)

Anticuchos de corazón history

As in all Spanish colonies, 16th-century Perú was full of conquistadors, living in haciendas and making a living out of the hard labor of their African slaves. Occasionally, the Spaniards slaughtered cows to eat. When they did so, they always discarded the innards (offal), giving them to their slaves. As they didn’t have much to eat, the Africans had to come up with a way to season the organs in order to make them edible.

Spanish imports such as garlic, cumin, vinegar, and salt were taken by those slaves with access to a kitchen, while the New-World hot pepper ají was borrowed from the Andean natives. With these ingredients, an explosive sauce was created, used to marinate the offal — and make them delicious.

And the skewers? Since the slaves didn’t have stoves, they had to cook everything over fire. How would they cook the small pieces of innards? Ah, by keeping them together with a sugarcane stick! Anticuchos de corazón were born.

Please note, anticuchos were in existence before Columbus discovered America! Different spices and meat (i.e. llama) were used. Offal skewers, however, were an African slave creation.

So yes, they are technically African, not Peruvian, anticuchos…

What does the word anticucho actually mean? It’s debatable. Local historians say the word comes from the Quechua antikuchu, meaning Andes – ají (anti – kuchu), the latter being a local hot pepper. Conversely, some linguists disagree, stating that it comes from the Quechua word antic-uchu, the name of a local ancient hot soup, instead. Could go either way, right?

Now, without further ado, let’s get cookin’! 😀 Once again, compliments of our excellent chef Joshua Snore. Follow him on Instagram!

Hostel Cooking: Beef offal recipe

Anticuchos de corazón with potatoes


Step 1
1.5 lb trimmed heart meat cut into ½ inch pieces
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
12-10 inch bamboo skewers
Step 2
3 lbs chopped potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cooking the anticuchos
Step 3
1. Combine first set of ingredients in a large pan, toss well, cover, and marinate in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
2. Soak bamboo skewers in bowl of water for 30 minutes before cooking.
3. Preheat Grill to high heat.
4. Remove beef from bowl, saving marinade on side of dish. Thread beef chunks onto wooden bamboo skewers.
5. Place anticuchos on pre-heated grill for approximately 6 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 6 minutes to. While cooking each side, continuously season anticuchos with the marinade. Beware of flame-ups.
6. Remove and Plate.
Cooking the potatoes
Step 4
1. Rinse potatoes, removing excess dirt.
2. Chop potatoes into evenly-sized chunks.
3. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.
4. Place potatoes on a pan and season them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley.
5. Bake potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender.
6. Remove from oven, make sure to eat while still hot.

heart skewers, anticuchos de corazón with potatoes

Voilà! Can you tell they are beef innards? I can’t! Anticuchos de corazón recipe

Would you try this anticuchos de corazón recipe?

What other strange food have you tried?

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