Papas a la huancaina

Papas a la Huancaina (Rommy’s Bolivian way)

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I grew all my life thinking this dish was Bolivian and not knowing our neighbor’s geography (Huancayo is in Peru). When I traveled in Peru with my husband, I was surprised to see papas a la huancaina on the menu and I ordered it. We were amazed by the delicious sauce, but I noticed it didn’t have peanuts and we could not figure out what the ingredients were. I asked the waitress and she told me that the sauce was made with soda cracker and cheese with aji amarillo and I asked why they modified the Bolivian recipe. She said, “Bolivian recipe?  You know Huancayo is en Peru.” So this is how I learned geography and a new recipe. Here is the Bolivian way. Enjoy!

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 dried spicy yellow peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 cup raw peanuts  (you can substitute for unsalted roasted peanuts)

2 cups water (1/2 cup more if you want it less thick)

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Optional ( 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or monterrey jack)

1 head of lettuce

8 large potato boiled and peeled or 16 small potatoes

8 hard boiled eggs

black olives

Get the ingredients ready:

Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Select 4 large yellow peppers. Bake them in the oven for 5 min, the pepper will start burning in some areas and the pepper will turn a dark red color. Don’t over roast.

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Let the pepper cool. Meanwhile, put the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast the peanuts at 350F for 7 min. Remove from the oven, the peanuts will continue cooking after they are out of the oven so you don’t want to keep them inside the oven too long.

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(The above photo with two piles shows the unroasted and roasted peanuts). Take the seeds out of the yellow peppers and put them in a food processor or blender, add the peanuts, garlic, salt and water. You are looking for a smooth sauce.

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Heat the oil in a pan and add the peanut sauce. Cook for 15 min, if is too thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out of the stove.

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Serve warm with potatoes or pasta or any barbecue chicken or meat.

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Heat the oil in a pan and addd the peanut sauce cooked for 15 min if is to thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out the stove.

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At this point you can add the fresh cheese make sure that the fresh cheese is well shreded since it doenst melt with heat. You dont want big chunks in you peanut sauce. Ad warm milk or water if needed to keep it more liquid that (espeso)

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Peel the potatoes and eggs and slice them. You can arrange this on the plate this in different ways, I like it this way. Usually there is a layer of lettuce, a layer of potatoes, and a layer of eggs covered with peanut sauce. Top with olives. You can get very creative, my husband and I love it this way.

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Nogada de cordero

Nogada de Cordero

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I love peanuts and this dish calls for raw peanuts that, combined with the other ingredients, make a delicious sauce. This is my mom’s version that she used to cook occasionally and probably is the Cochabamba style. The original dish came from another city, Sucre, and they use walnuts instead of peanuts and add some raisins.  The traditional dish calls for lamb, but you must be prepared because lamb has a strong earthy aroma when cooked. So if you want to try this delicious peanut sauce you can substitute the lamb for chicken if you are not a lamb fan. Enjoy, you will be surprised with the flavors and how a 1/4 tsp of sugar enhances the flavor!

Like any Bolivian main dish we will do this one step by step.

Serves 8

Precooking the lamb

Ingredients

8 pieces of Lamb

1 onion

1 carrots

6 cups water

4 stem parsley

1 tsp salt

Put together the ingredients and clean the lamb of extra fat or nerves. Put the six cups of water in a large pot and let it get warm. Before it starts boiling add the pieces of lamb, onion, carrot and parsley. Let it simmer for an hour.

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Remove the foam that forms on the top and discard.

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Seasoning the cooked lamb.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup ground red pepper

3 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

2 tbs oil plus 2 more (to fry the meat)

Heat oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, cumin, and pepper. Cook for a minute and add the red pepper sauce. Cook for 5 min and reserve. We are going to use this sauce to rub onto the pieces of lamb and then sear them in the frying pan with oil.

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Peanut sauce

1/2 cup peanuts

1 cups hot water

1 cup water

1 large onion diced in small cubes

1 large tomato peeled and dice in small cubes

1 tsp salt

2 tbs chopped parsley

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp sugar

2 -3 cups of broth (you can use the lamb broth)

4 large potatoes

cooked rice (arroz graneado)

While the lamb is being cooked, prepare the peanut sauce, potatoes and rice.

Soak the peanuts in a cup of hot water and let it soak for 15 min.

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Dice the onion, peel the tomatoes and leave out the seeds if you can. Chop the parsley. Set aside

In a blender (or batan) grind the peanuts finely with a cup of water.

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After the lamb is cooked remove from the broth, save the broth. Cover each piece of lamb with the rubbing sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauce pan and fry the lamb slightly and set aside.

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In the same saucepan that the lamb was fried in, cook the onion, tomatoes, parsley, pepper, salt and sugar for 10 min. Add the peanuts and mix. Cook for 5 min.

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Add the 2 cups of lamb broth or any broth and add the pieces of lamb. Let it cook for 30 min, don’t let it dry too much. Add warm water or more broth if necessary. Optiona: add the potatoes to this mix 10 min before it’s cooked.

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Rice (Arroz Graneado)

Ingredients:

2 cups rice

4 cups water

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp salt

In Bolivia we prepare our rice this way: sometimes we use also some slices of onion and even black sweet pepper.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the sliced garlic, cook the garlic for 30 sec, add the rice and fry until the rice changes color from clear white to dark opaque white.

Boil the four cups of water. Add salt and the fried rice, let it cook for 20 min until dry.

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In Bolivia the way they present this dish is with the potatoes on one side topped with the meat, sauce and parsley sprinkled on top and the rice next to it.

Enjoy it!

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