Peruvian Vegetable Stew

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Peruvian Vegetable Stew topped with Salsa Criolla

” Not all those who wander are lost.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

Spent an amazing weekend at Wanderlust Festival Austin recently. This year’s event was just as wonderful as last year’s or maybe even a little better. The festival includes tons of yoga classes, workshops, music, cool vendors and more. It’s a wonderful time to connect with friends, do LOTS of yoga of course and include a bit of wandering.

Yogis tend to be seekers and part of that path includes straying off a set course from time to time. This is usually where the good stuff happens: serendipity, growth, discovery.

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Chalk art at Wanderlust Festival Austin

One of my wanderings at Wanderlust brought me and my good friend Lucianne to a super cool food truck off of 6th Street called Llamas Peruvian Creole. We initially walked right by looking for (seeking) something else. I assumed it would mostly be meat but after a closer look, we saw a promising veggie stew on the menu and decided to give it a go…I’m so glad we did!!!

The stew was a combination of red peppers, onions, potatoes, plantains and this large chewy corn (a little like hominy) all served over white rice. It was delicious and I was super curious about that corn. So I asked the chef about it and he said it was choclo, a type of Peruvian corn that I could find in the frozen section at my local hispanic market (Fiesta Market…Houston peeps) under the Goya brand.

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Goya Choclo from Fiesta Market

The first free day I had this week was dedicated to finding the Choclo and making my own version of Peruvian stew. i was so excited when I found it! I picked up the other ingredients and began cooking and creating once I got home. Llamas’ stew is seasoned with an anji panca sauce made from a Peruvian pepper. It has a smoky flavor and I substituted smoked paprika which is much easier to find. The stew is topped with a salsa criolla simply made with red onion, lime and cilantro.

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i decided to try a parboiled rice and have since learned that this method of processing the rice maintains a lot of the nutritional benefits of the rice making it similar nutritionally to brown rice. The rice cooked in about 20 minutes and it came out perfectly.

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Parboiled rice

I had three pots going on the stove for this project, so know that ahead of time. In one, I sauteed the onions, pepper and garlic. Added the seasonings, potatoes and choclo with water to cover. Another pot cooked the rice. And in the third pan I sauteed the plantains. So it was a bit of work, but really not too bad. Everything cooked for about the same amount of time.

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Peruvian Vegetable Stew

Serves 4

1 Tbsp avocado oil (or other oil of your choice)

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 large red onion, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp+ smoked paprika

1 tsp brown sugar (optional)

1 tsp soy sauce or tamari

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 cups new potatoes, unpeeled, chopped into 2 inch pieces

2 cups choclo, frozen (could substitute hominy)

1 cup parboiled white rice

1 large plantain (with some black spots), sliced on the diagonal

1 Tbsp coconut oil

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Salsa Criolla (recipe follows)

In a large pot, heat avocado oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and peppers. Saute until onion softens. Add tomato paste, smoked paprika, sugar (if using) and salt. Stir to coat. Add potatoes, choclo and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare rice according to package directions.

Additionally, heat a large skillet with coconut oil over medium high heat. Add plantain slices. Saute until evenly browned on both sides. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When potatoes are tender, add plantains to the stew. Taste and adjust seasonings adding more smoked paprika or salt if necessary.

Serve warm over rice and top with salsa criolla and fresh cilantro.

Salsa Criolla

1/2 large red onion, sliced into half moon shape

1/2 lime, juiced

1 Tbsp+ fresh cilantro, chopped

Sea salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and allow to marinate while stew is cooking.

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