Skip to main content

Parihuela for Noche Buena

Christmas in Peru, as everywhere else in the Christian world, is a time of celebration and libations. The 24th of December – “la noche Buena” (the good night) – is a huge feast, when families gather to enjoy good food before opening their presents together after midnight.

Because we were just rolling back into town after three days away, I needed something quick and easy...but still elegant. I picked a hearty, spicy Peruvian stew: Parihuela.

While I cooked, the boys helped the Nonni trim the tree.

Though it is similar to the French bouillabaisse from the port of Marseille, its flavors and ingredients are uniquely Peruvian.

Two things guarantee a great parihuela: using fresh ingredients and serving it immediately. Traditionally a firm flesh white fish as the main ingredient, such as the center cut of a cod or sea bass. But since Dungeness crab are in season in California, I also added some for flavor, contrast, and to enhance the presentation. And my dad picked up some fresh salmon as well.

3 lbs fresh fish, cut into generous chunks
2 crabs, cooked, cleaned, and cut into large pieces
olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, diced
5 tepin chiles, crushed
1 onion, diced
2 shallots, diced
1 T ginger, minced
freshly ground salt and pepper
dash of ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 C vegetable broth
1/2 C clam juice
fresh herbs for garnish, I used parsley, tarragon, and oregano
Meyer lemons, cut into wedges

Make a sofrito by sautéing the garlic, onion, and shallots in a pot with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, cumin, oregano, and tepin chiles. Cook until onions are translucent.

Add the fish and stir for a few minutes to coat the fish with all the spices. Pour in the broth, clam juice, add the crab and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnish each bowl with chopped fresh herbs and squeeze a Meyer lemon juice. Merry Christmas!

Apple sauce, tamales and salad are generally served on the side and dinner is accompanied by a heartwarming and rich Peruvian dark hot chocolate fused together with cinnamon and cloves. I managed the apple sauce and salad!


Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an