Gastón Acurio is without a doubt the most important Peruvian chef of all times. In his Facebook page he promotes Peruvian restaurants back home and overseas and shares recipes with his followers. Like Peruvian mums, he doesn’t use quantities. He might indicate approximates (e.g. “a lot”, “a pinch”), but you have to figure out exact amounts by yourself. This is not hard to do if you have any experience with cooking Peruvian dishes but can become daunting if you don’t.
The first time I made Gastón’s recipe for osso buco I eyeballed the quantities and the result was amazing. I didn’t write the recipe down so I “had to” make it again. The recipe calls for ají panca, which is a dried Peruvian red chilli. You can find it (whole or in paste) in some shops like Fiji Market, Tierras Latinas and online (just Google “buy aji panca”). If you can’t be bothered just use any red chilli paste.
Gastón recommends serving it with pasta. My (low carb) version features cauliflower mash, but you can make it starchier (and more Peruvian) if you serve it with cassava.
Peruvian osso buco
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 pieces osso buco (about 1.5 kg)
- 2 tablespoons fat of choice (tallow or ghee recommended)
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 celery stalks, grated
- 1 red onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons ají panca paste
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup tomato passata
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon porcini powder (or minced dried and rehydrated mushrooms)
- 750 g frozen cauliflower
- 5 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon of fat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Brown osso buco and reserve.
- Lower heat, add 1 tablespoon of fat, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ají panca. Cook until vegetables are soft (5-10 minutes).
- Add meat, season with plenty of salt and pepper, add passata, broth, wine, bay leave and porcini powder.
- Cover and let simmer until tender (about 2.5 hours). Towards the end of the cooking period make the mash (instructions below).
- Remove the meat the pot and, if desired, crank the heat up with the lid off to reduce the sauce.
- Serve with cauliflower mash.
- Steam cauliflower until soft.
- Mash in a food processor, add butter, and season with salt and pepper.