Olluquitos con carne, an underground rockstar

I love the bright colors of ollucos,and their shiny, smooth (and completely edible) skins. These funny-looking root crops are originally from the highest plateaus of the Andes, and Peruvians enjoy them mostly in soups and stews (although I also like adding them to salads). For a long time I only knew one variety, and thought it was the only one, but I was wrong. The shapes and sizes actually vary quite a bit, from the size of a garlic clove to the size of a sweet potato, and from pale to beautiful bright yellows, to reds and flashy pinks. These tubers (olluco comes from the quechua word ¨ullucu¨, which literally means tuber) are more watery and slimy than potatoes, and have a neutral taste. A great thing about them is that they can be eaten raw or cooked.

My first encounter with olluquitos con carne was at home, when Amelia, our long time cook, made the happy introduction. She had told me about this delicious typical food, and cooked it for me substituting the ancient charqui used by the Andeans–dried alpaca meat-, with sirloin steak, which was easier to find and had a much subtler flavor. What can I say? I loved them! The soupy entrée was tender and juicy, making it the perfect sauce for the white rice that accompanied it. It was also somewhat spicy, with the kick of the aji panca,(if you prepare it and want to avoid the heat of the chili pepper, you can use paprika instead). For me, this is a perfect, complete lunch, with all those much-needed carbs and proteins mixed in one robust plate.

If you want to make the original recipe from the mountains, then use charqui, but sirloin is great too. Some of my friends use chopped or ground meat, but even though it´s good, I think it´s too different from the original.

To make things easier for you, I have been looking for fresh ollucos abroad, unfortunately without success. However, I have found them cannedand frozen. I´m not sure if they are good, but I promise I will try them and let you know, unless you do it first and are kind enough to let ME know!

Do you find ollucos where you live? Do you like them?

4.5 from 2 reviews
Olluquitos con carne, an underground rockstar
Author: 
Recipe type: Entrée
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • • 1 onion, diced
  • • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • • 2 tablespoons aji panca paste (or 1 tablespoons paprika)
  • • 1 lb sirloin steak, cut in slices
  • • 2 lbs ollucos, julienned (cut in sticks)
  • • 1 cup meat stock
  • • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • • 5 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash the ollucos in plenty of cold water. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over high heat, and stir fry the meat until nicely golden but not dry. You should do this little by little because the meat don´t have to sweat. Transfer the meat to a plate, cover and reserve.
  3. In the same pan cook onion, garlic and aji panca paste or paprika. Stir constantly.
  4. Add the chopped ollucos, stir and cook for a few minutes. Put the sirloin back to the saucepan, add the stock, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and cook over medium – low heat, covered, for 40 minutes. Taste again and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add parsley and serve at once with fluffy white rice.

 

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Comments

  1. It looks so gourmet! What a beautiful presentation.

  2. Yummy!!! I love trying new recipes! Looks fantastic!

  3. No, I’ve never heard of Ollucos before, but they look similar to the “papas criollas”.
    The recipe is amazing!

  4. Oh wow, your posts are always so beautiful! Everything looks delicious. I can only imagine what it tastes like. I never heard or this vegetable but now I am excited to try it!

  5. Ollucos. I learn something new every day with you :) As always the pics are great and the dish looks delicious.

  6. I’ve never heard of ollucos where I live, but I certainly want to try them. Your recipe looks so delicious.

  7. This looks divine! You know, I have a friend from Peru who promised to give me a recipe for this chickpea and shredded beef dish her mom makes – any chance you know what it is and can hook me up?!

    • Peru Delights says:

      I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about. If you tell me the name of the recipe maybe I’ll recognize it.

  8. William says:

    Aji panca is not spicy at all, maybe there was some aji amarillo in the original recipe. Not sure that paprika would be a good substitute, maybe just for the color. But aji panca is not spicy, it has more of a fruity flavor, yet not that sweet. Taste a little on the tip of a spoon. There is however another aji that is very spicy and its called rocoto, now that one should be used sparingly, a lot spicier than aji amarillo. I just made some Olluquito con carne the other day with sirloin and it was sooooo good. I like to add some diced red pepper for some added flavor.

    • Peru Delights says:

      Sirloin is the best -for me- when I´m making olluquitos con carne, although the real ingredient is charqui, dried llama meat. Aji panca gives the dish a wonderful depth of flavor and a beautiful color. It could be very hot if you live the seeds and veins, and I it´s perfect for slow cooking dishes. Paprika is not a good substitution.
      Rocoto is delicious, meaty and so hot, but gives a great flavor to the fantastic food from Arequipa.

  9. I’ve found frozen ollucos. Any tips on how to use them? Or variation on the recipe?

    • Peru Delights says:

      Use them as fresh ones but cook them briefly because they are soft when thawed.Have you tried chupe de ollucos? Or olluquitos with beef? You may steam them and add them to salads along with some fava beans.

  10. Great article!
    Your photo and its’ source have been featured on the World Food Guide website http://worldfood.guide/photo/olluco_con_carne_271/

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