Charquekan

Charquekan

My family used to travel a lot in Bolivia when I was little and the first time that I tried charquekan was when I was 8 and we went on a school excursion to the Lake Titicaca. All the kids were from the countryside and they all had their food in aguayos (a traditional blanket) and I remember when we all sat together to eat lunch the teacher asked us to sit in a circle and share our food. When I saw my friends’ lunch that still was warm with some steam coming out of the aguayo, I couldn’t resist the smell of the purple potatoes with cheese and dried llama meet on top. That was my first Charquekan made of llama- the best that I’ve tried so far. That charque did not compare at all with the cold chicken on my plate that my mom put together for my lunch. Enjoy this wonderful traditional dish!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 large purple potatoes.

6 hard boiled eggs

6 slices of fresh cheese you can replace with thin slices of monterrey jack (1 slice per person)

1 cup dry corn

8 oz of charque (Dry beef)

1/4 cup oil to fry

1/2 cup of Llajua (see Llajua recipe)

Boil the dry charque for about 1/2 hour. This will allow it to lose some of its salt. Rinse in cold water and, using a meat softener/tenderizer, punch really hard until meat is soft enough that white strips appear.

Boil the potatoes with their skins on. If you do not have the purple potatoes you can use red potatoes. I love the purple ones for their flavor and color. This type of potato’s skin turns a dark purple  after cooking.

While the potatoes are being cooked, we can cook the dry corn. This corn is big and has the skin on it. You need to soak them the night before and cook them for about an hour.

Cook the meat in a pan with vegetable oil. The oil needs to be hot, the meat cooks really fast, so you only need a few seconds per side.

Take them out of the pan and put them on a paper towel.

Place the plate with the potato and corn on the bottom and the meat on top with a piece of cheese on the side. This  goes really well with Llajua.

My sister helped with the pictures today. She is happy to help me but not to be in the pictures!

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