We took a Peruvian cooking class not too long ago. The instructor, a sweet lady who came from Peru a few years ago, taught us how to make Pollo al Oporto.When she cooked, she added a pinch of this or a spoonful of that. She gave us a recipe to follow, but to be quite honest, the recipe was a very loose interpretation of what she actually made. So, it seems to me that this stew is pretty flexible.
Pollo al Oporto is a chicken stew with the taste of Peru. Well, I wanted to try making it at home, but a vegetarian version. I left the chicken out and replaced it with veggies rather than any chicken substitute or any tofu. Oporto is a sweet Portuguese wine. I didn’t have any Oporto wine, or any sweet wine for that matter, so I used a dry Sauvignon Blanc. In class, the instructor used 1/2 cup raisins (I’m not a fan, so I left them out). Otherwise, I pretty much followed what she did in class (as closely as I could anyway).
This stew would also be great with the addition of some chopped broccoli or a chopped red pepper. Basically, I’m starting to think of this stew as a base for using up leftovers and veggies in your refrigerator. Just cook up some brown rice to serve with it, and you have a great meal.
Flexible enough to help you use up some leftovers, Peruvian stew makes a great dinner
Vegetarian Peruvian Stew Recipe
Vegetarian Peruvian Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 1/2 cup of Oporto or any white wine
- 1 8 ounce can of tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 tablespoon Aji Panca Sin Picante* spice or smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 4 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes cut into quarters**
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add red onion and salt, and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic to the pot with the onions, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, and allow the alcohol to evaporate (when you can smell the alcohol, that means it is evaporating), about 5 minutes. The wine will reduce a little as well.
- Stir the tomato paste, and all of the spices (cumin through brown sugar) into the pot, breaking up the bouillon cube as you stir. Add the potatoes to the pot, and enough water to cover the potatoes by about 1/2-inch.
- Bring the stew to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, and allow to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the stew, and if the water is evaporating too quickly, add more.
- Add the parsley and frozen peas and simmer for another 3 minutes until the peas are heated through. Taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve hot with freshly cooked brown rice.
Cook's notes: *The instructor of the Peruvian Cooking class gave us some of this Aji Panca Sin Picante spice to take home. If you can't find it at the store, or don't want to try locating it, use smoked paprika or even chili powder. You'll still get a really nice stew.
** You can chop your veggies into whatever size you'd like. I made the chunks rather large to give some nice body to the stew. The only thing you want to keep in mind is that the potato pieces should be approximately the same size so that they cook evenly.