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Seco de Res // Cilantro Beef Stew

When asked my favorite dish in Peru, without hesitation, I explain that there are favorites in each region, but that Seco is indeed my favorite Criolla dish.

This is such a flavorful dish due to the beef being marinated in dark beer and then stewed in a cilantro sauce. The accompanying side dishes can be chosen to fit your craving. Some eat this with regular potatoes, some with sweet potatoes. Sometimes this is served with boiled yucca or even Peruvian beans. I am not sure that I have a favorite, it just depends on my mood and craving.

When traveling outside of Peru, this is certainly one of my favorites to prepare in order to introduce others to Peruvian food, because nearly all the ingredients can be found in other places.

Have you had Seco de Res? What is your favorite accompanying side dish?

Seco de Res // Cilantro Beef Stew

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds of stew meat, cubed
  • 2 cups of stout beer, divided
  • 2 teaspoons of salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 onions
  • 3 Peruvian yellow peppers, deveined and seeded
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 cup of pureed cilantro (about 4 cups of leaves blended with 1 cup of water)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of fresh peas


  1. In a large bowl, combine stew meat with dark beer, 1 teaspoon of salt and the cumin powder. Stir to coat meat with beer mixture. Allow this to marinate while preparing the other ingredients or overnight; stir occasionally.
  2. Add onion, aji amarillo peppers and garlic to a blender with 1/2 cup of water and puree until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat and brown beef on all sides. Remove beef and keep warm. Pour in the pureed onion mixture, remaining salt, and bouillon cube. Cook 10 minutes or until mixture darkens.
  4. Add pureed cilantro to the onion mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture darkens.
  5. Add meat with all the juices and, if necessary, add a bit of water (about 1/2 cup) until level barely covers beef. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add carrot slices and fresh peas (if using frozen, add in the last 5 minutes). Simmer until the vegetables are cooked and sauce slightly reduced.


Serve with rice and choice of: boiled potato, fried yuca, sweet potato or Peruvian white beans.


11/26/2012 – Edited to update recipe details and added photos. 


2 Responses to “Seco de Res // Cilantro Beef Stew”

  1. Aha! I have a jar of aji amarillo pepper paste for which I’ve been seeking a good recipe. Pinned for later usage. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Tony B | November 27, 2012, 4:36 pm


  1. [...] anything. In the first category always falls my family. I love to impress them with my big pots of Seco de Res or Aji de Gallina and then typically follow up with the meal with a non-Peruvian dessert. That [...]

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