Cau Cau is a Peruvian dish that can be made with beef, tripe, seafood or, the version I chose, chicken, in which case it is called Cau Cau de Pollo. You can basically throw in whatever you have to hand because it apparently started as a dish with African origins, made by slaves with kitchen scraps. That makes it perfect as a #KitchenClearout recipe but you also see more sophisticated versions in posh Peruvian restaurants.
The plateful that you can see above is the Madhouse kids' version - they ate earlier than us, then I added a kick with some chilli paste and reheated it for the grown-ups. Both versions are described below so you can take your pick !
Cau Cau de Pollo
a drizzle of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
3 medium potatoes
5 chicken breasts
3 mushrooms (optional and not at all authentic !)
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2tbsp ají amarillo chilli paste (optional)
3tbsp chopped mint (or hierbabuena if you can get it)
1 cup frozen peas
chicken stock or gravy
rice (to serve with)
Chop the onions and garlic and fry in a drizzle of olive oil. I used up some of my Creole bé rouj (beurre rouge or red butter - it's basically coloured lard) instead.
Dice the potatoes and add them to the onions. Sauté, stirring frequently so they don't stick, for 5 minutes until they are starting to soften.
Dice the chicken and add to the pot. Stir fry for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is completely white.
I decided to add some mushrooms, because Juliette loves them, but this is certainly not an authentic part of the recipe ! Add the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric and mint. (Hierbabuena is more athentic but mint will do.) You can add the chilli paste at this stage if you like - I was making a child-friendly version first so added it later.
Add some chicken stock (or I used leftover gravy from the roast) and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through.
Add the frozen peas for the last 5 minutes.
Give it all a good stir, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve over rice.
Once the kids had finished, I gave it some oomph with some Peruvian yellow chilli paste - phew, I'd forgotten how much of a punch this one packs so go easy !
I added the rice to the pot to make a one dish wonder to reheat.
It reminded me of carapulcra, which is another tasty Peruvian dish that everyone loved so I'll have to think about adding it to an upcoming menu plan.
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Fancy trying some more Peruvian cuisine? How about :
Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky because it used up some of a jar of yellow chilli paste that was lurking in the fridge, as well as some leftover gravy.