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Origins and preparation of the Puchero Cusqueño

This typical Andean dish is served in the main carnivals of Peru.

The Puchero is a typical Peruvian dish that has been prepared since Inca times, known then as Timpu in Quechua (lamb meal in Spanish). In the highlands of Peru, this dish is very popular and is usually prepared to delight people during the days of carnivals between February and March.

A taste with history

The Puchero or Timpu was initially prepared by the millenary Inca people, as a soup that contains potatoes, chuño (freeze-dried potato), yuca (cassava roots), virraca (white carrots) and chalona (dried llama meat). During the colonial era, this dish was reinforced with ingredients that made it more consistent, adding ingredients such as beef brisket, head and chops of lamb, bacon, cabbage, potatoes, moraya (white chuño), chickpeas and rice.

For some similarities with the Spanish dish, during the viceroyalty of Peru, Timpu was called “Puchero”. Currently, the Puchero is well known in Spain and a great part of Latin America, but it differs from Cusco dish because the latter is a dry meal, accompanied by a broth while the European Puchero is a soup.

Puchero, a festive dish

In the carnivals of Cajamarca, Ayacucho, and Cusco, especially at compadres and comadres celebration days, the Puchero Cusqueño is the main course. If you want to delight your family with the taste of this ancestral dish, we will show you the steps to prepare it:

Ingredients:

– Two kilos of beef brisket or sirloin
– Half a kilo of chickpeas, soaked in water a day before.
– Four medium carrots, peeled and halved.
– One kilo of green beans
– Two leeks, halved lengthwise
– Four stalks of celery
– One turnip, peeled and cut into three pieces
– Eight medium white potatoes, peeled and halved
– One half medium cabbage
– One kilo of yellow yuca, peeled and cut into large chunks
– One kilo of sweet potatoes
– Four corn cobs, split into pieces
– A teaspoon of sugar.
– Salt to taste.

Preparation:

We boil water in a large pot, and when hot, we add the beef in chunks until it is cooked for an hour over medium heat. At the same time, the foam formed on the pot’s surface must be removed with a skimmer to remove impurities.

Afterward, we add carrots, broad beans, turnip, leek and celery, and let it simmer for five minutes, and then we add the cabbage, potatoes and yucas. As vegetables cook,  we take them from the pot and place them in a separate container.

Once the beef is cooked, we remove it from the pot and place it next to the other vegetables. Corn has to be cooked separately with a teaspoon of sugar, and then, we add it to the rest of vegetables, we apply the same process with sweet potatoes.

We cook the chickpeas in unsalted water and serve them separately. Finally, we serve the soup in a bowl, vegetables and beef in another plate, and then we start enjoying it!

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