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 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.
Reprinted with permission from Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen: Authentic Recipes for Lomo Saltado, Antichuchos, Tiraditos, Alfajores, and Pisco Cocktails by Martin Morales. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1 rabbit, 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lb (1.5 to 2 kg), cut into serving pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Amarillo Chile Paste
- 1 tablespoon Panca Chile Paste
- 7 tablespoons (100 ml) white wine
- 1 cup (250 ml) good-quality chicken stock
- 1/3 cup (50 g) roasted peanuts, ground
- 12 new potatoes
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the rabbit pieces in a bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and use your hands to massage the marinade into the rabbit pieces, making sure they are well covered. Season with salt and pepper and leave to marinate for at least a couple hours.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Fry the rabbit pieces on all sides until evenly browned. Remove the rabbit from the pan with a slotted spoon and add the onion. Sauté the onion until translucent and then add the chile pastes. Cook for a further couple minutes and then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Scrape vigorously to make sure nothing is sticking and then add the stock. Return the pieces of rabbit to the pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in plenty of water until they are firm but tender inside. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half crosswise.
Stir in the peanuts and leave to simmer uncovered for a further 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the rabbit is very tender. Add the potatoes and leave them to heat through. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.