A Peruvian Banquet for Independence Day
This year, like every other, Journey Latin America's Margot Chard will prepare a feast in time for Peru's Independence Day on 28 July. Although she has lived in England for over 10 years, this proud peruana from Barranca near Lima never fails to devote an entire day to preparing all kinds of local dishes to accompany the celebrations. She recently invited me into her home to show me exactly how she does it.
As she fussed around the kitchen pulling out enough pots and pans to cook for at least 20 people, she told me about the typical festivities that occur in Lima.
"On the evening of 27th July, Peruvians often play serenatas to creole and folk music in the main plazas and public parks. At dawn on the 28th, 21 cannons are fired to herald the ceremonial raising of the Peruvian flag. Before the famous military parade is held in downtown Lima, the President attends a special ceremony in Lima’s main cathedral - then the party can begin!"
Margot was quick to point out that there is no typical national dish that is eaten on Independence Day, but classic Peruvian specialities such as ceviche, causa and lomo saltado are bound to be on menu.
Margot showed me how to prepare seco de cordero – a mouth-watering coriander and lamb stew.
- Prep: 15 minutes
- Cook: 1 hour
- Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- Recipe serves: 8
- 1/2 Kilo of lamb - should is best
- 1 Lamb stock cubes
- 250g White potatoes (ideally Maris Piper) - peeled and halved
- 1 Large carrot, chopped into small cubes
- 1 Small green chilli, finely choppped
- 1/2 Large chopped onion
- 1/2 Cup of coriander, blended into a paste
- 1/2 Cup of frozen peas
- 2-3 Cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil
- Dice the meat into bite size pieces. Season the meat with salt, pepper and cumin.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the lamb and seasonings. When the lamb is slightly brown, remove from the saucepan and leave to one side on a plate.
- In the same oil fry the onions, garlic, carrot and the green chilli.
- Now add in the lamb and stir to coat the meat.
- Add the coriander paste and stir in. Now add the lamb stock – just enough to cover the meat. Cover the pan and let it simmer on a low heat for 20 mins
- Add the potatoes so they sit on top of the meat (do not mix), then put the lid back on and cook for 15mins, or until cooked through.
- Garnish the plate with fresh coriander. White rice and warmed cannellini beans work very well with this stew.
Or, if the thought of devoting an entire day to feast preparation does not appeal, try the Peruvian restaurants Titos or Fina Estampa instead, both near London Bridge.