The origins of this dish date back more than 500 years ago, though over the centuries Afro-Peruvians and Europeans have added various ingredients. What gives the dish its signature flavor though are the papas secas, or freeze dried potatoes. When cooked they give off a starchy substance similar to that produced when cooking risotto, which helps to thicken the stew. Each piece of potato gradually develops a lovely al dente texture as it is rehydrated. – Editor’s Note
- 4 cups dehydrated, flaked potatoes
- 2¼ lb (1 kg) pork ribs
- 3 oz (80 g) peanuts
- 1 oz (25 g) lard
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- pinch of ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons aji panca paste
- 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
- 2 quarts (67½ fl oz/2 liters) pork broth or stock
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C
- Toast the dried potatoes in the oven for 6 minutes until they start to brown. Place the toasted potatoes in a bowl, cover with water, and let soak overnight.
- The next day, cut the pork ribs into 2 x 2-inch/5 x 5-cm pieces and season with salt and pepper. Place the peanuts in a mortar or batán (Peruvian grinder) and grind until fine. Set aside.
- Melt half the lard in a pan over medium heat, add the pork rib pieces, and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining lard to the pan with the onion and garlic, and sauté for a few minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin, and chili pastes and season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 10 minutes until the paste thickens and the onions are well cooked.
- Drain the soaked potatoes and add to the pan with the browned pork pieces. Pour in the pork broth (stock), ensuring that the liquid covers the ingredients (you can add a little water if necessary). Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, uncovered, for 2–3 hours, until the meat is tender.
- Add the ground peanuts and cook for another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon into large shallow bowls and serve.