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Call them kabobs, skewers, pinchos, or anticuchos, there’s nothing better than meat on a stick. Perhaps they invoke feelings of the ultimate summer barbecue, or they make me think of some childhood favorites. It could be they are one of the common denominators of global cuisine – who doesn’t have a version of skewered meat? From Spanish brochetas to greek souvlaki, these Peruvian-style skewers bring together the South American gastronomic wonder that is mixed grilled meats.
Traditional anticuchos originated in the Andes mountains in Inca times, and are made with beef heart. Heart didn’t strike me as something that my dinner guests would appreciate. Instead, I used the traditional recipe as a marinade: vinegar, cumin, and paprika taking center stage, rendering a mouth-wateringly tender piece of steak. Aji amarillo is generally used for anticuchos, but wasn’t readily available here. I used beef, chicken and shrimp to please everyone, and threaded the veggies alone for even cooking. Roasted potatoes stood in for the boiled potato that usually shows up on the end of a Peruvian anticucho for a little extra crunch and flavor.
These anticuchos pleased a crowd of 15 people on a Saturday night, and saved us a lot of cash, not going out, but still enjoying a restaurant quality meal. They end up being surprisingly healthy as well. Double the recipe and do the same for chicken as well. Use only the rub on the shrimp just before cooking for some great flavor.
Meat and Marinade:
1 ½ pounds boneless sirloin, trimmed of fat and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons aji amarillo or smoked or hot paprika
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
** make an additional recipe (all marinade ingredients) for 1 and ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, if desired
Pre grilling dry rub:
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
**note** Soak bamboo skewers, covered in water for at least 30 minutes.