Picante de Cuy Mentiroso (Fibbing Guinea Pig) From Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen


[Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness]

We may balk at the thought in America, but guinea pigs (cuy) are considered a delicacy in the Andean regions of Peru. Martin Morales's grandmother specialized in a particular preparation of the animal, braised in a sauce of fiery chilies and ground peanuts. He's recreated the recipe in his new cookbook, Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen, but instead of using cuy, he braises easier-to-find rabbit. The rich sauce is a perfect foil to the meat, and the potatoes served alongside are an excellent vehicle for sopping up leftover sauce.

Why I picked this recipe: While I knew it wouldn't be exactly the same as eating the traditional cuy dish, I was still super curious about combining rabbit, chilies, and nuts.

What worked: This is my new favorite way to prepare rabbit.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: Next time, I may add the potatoes with the nuts so that they have more of a chance to absorb the flavors of the sauce. If you can't find rabbit, you could use whole chicken legs instead (the flavor will be different, but still good). In that case, the sauce will likely need to be skimmed of extra fat before serving. The recipe calls for two different types of chili paste: amarillo and panca. If you can't find amarillo chilies, you can substitute a mix of orange habaneros, orange bell peppers, and a squeeze of orange juice. If you can't find panca chiles, you can substitute dried (not canned) chipotle peppers.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen to give away this week.