The story goes that in a bout of hunger, crewmen in the region of Bajo Piura (the valley south of Piura city and the Piura river) asked the chef, named Chabelo, to make them something hearty. Mixing the ingredients he had on hand, Chabelo created a masterpiece delighting the crewmen and, thereafter, a whole region.
Piura has a fascination with plantains (have you tried their spectacular plantain chips called chifles?), as does the neighboring jungle region. So it comes as no surprise that adding jungle chorizo and cecina (smoked meat) to seco de chabelo, also written as chavelo, would result in a mouthwatering dish. Here’s the recipe from Piura-born chef, Jorge Castañeda.
For 4 to 5 people
200 g beef shank
125 g cecina (substitute with other type of smoked meat)
125 gr chorizo de la selva (substitute with spicy sausage)
10 green plantains
1 bell pepper
1 ají amarillo (you can substitute with habanero pepper)
2 tablespoon ground ají panca (substitute with chipotle powder)
1 tablespoon ground ají amarillo
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of chicha de jora (substitute with beer)
Salt, pepper & cumin
Chop meat and sausage into bite sized pieces. Brown the meat in a frying pan and set aside. Charbroil or grill the plantains until the peel begins to blacken and open. Peel the plantains and cut into pieces. Fry the plantains in abundant vegetable oil until golden. Place them over paper towels. Add the chunks to a bowl with a bit of oil and start smashing with a glass bottle. Set aside. Stir fry garlic chopped onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, ají amarillo, ground ají amarillo and ají panca. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Add achiote and chicha de jora. Let cook for two minutes. Add meat and plantains. Add cilantro, scallions and mix.
Top off your seco de chabelo with salsa criolla and enjoy!
All photos: Jorge Castañeda