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March 26, 2012

Meatless Monday: Peruvian Huancayo Potatoes

Did you know?  Peru is currently in the Guiness Book of World Records for Most Diverse Cuisine.

Papa a la Huancaina
Papa a la Huancaína is dish of sliced potatoes covered in a spicy cheese sauce that is typically served cold, as a first course or luncheon dish. It's delicious made with yellow or white potatoes. If you prefer a spicier sauce, add an extra aji amarillo*.  If you cannot find aji amarillo, substitute a pureed hot pepper of your choice, though the flavor will be considerably different.   Learn more about Aji Amarillo by clicking the link to Read More.

  • 4 large yellow or white potatoes, peeled (such as Yukon gold)
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced 
  • 4 black olives, cut in half 
  • Leaf lettuce, for garnish

Huancaina Sauce:
  • 2 TB canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. aji amarillo
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2-3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 saltine cracker, crumbled very finely
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and boil until fork tender. Chill until ready to use. Place all ingredients except queso fresco and evaporated milk into a food processor and blend. Add cheese and pulse until combined. After adding cheese, and while blending, slowly add the evaporated milk until the mixture reaches a thick, sauce-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place lettuce leaves on a plate and top with chilled potato halves. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and garnish with slices of hard boiled egg and black olives.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

 * "Aji" means chile pepper in Spanish, and "amarillo" means yellow. But although they are named yellow chile peppers, their color changes to orange as they mature. The famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio recently named aji amarillo the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. Aji amarillo is used in many classic Peruvian dishes.
If you can't find aji amarillo in your produce section, look for frozen aji peppers or aji amarillo paste in Latin food stores.  You can also find it online:  Peru Food - Aji amarillo 7.5 oz. Product of Peru

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