Seco de Res Peruano // Peruvian Cilantro Beef Stew

I am often asked what my favorite meal is here in Peru. Without hesitation, I explain that while I have favorites from each region, Seco de Res is 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 boiled & peeled sweet potatoes. Sometimes this is served with boiled yucca or even Peruvian beans. The rice can either be white or brown rice. Arroz con choclo is another delicious option as well! I am not sure that I have a favorite, it just depends on my mood and craving.

When traveling outside of Peru, I often prepare this meal for friends and family. It is a terrific dish to introduce others to Peruvian food, because nearly all the ingredients can be found outside of Peru.

Seco de Res // Cilantro Beef Stew
Serves 8
Delicious Peruvian Stew made by marinating beef in dark beer and stewing in cilantro.
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  1. 2 pounds of stew meat, cubed
  2. 2 cups of stout beer, divided
  3. 2 teaspoons of salt, divided
  4. 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  5. 2 onions
  6. 3 Peruvian yellow peppers, deveined and seeded
  7. 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  8. 2 teaspoons canola oil
  9. 1 beef bouillon cube
  10. 1 cup of pureed cilantro (about 4 cups of leaves blended with 1 cup of water)
  11. 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  12. 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. Pour in the 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. At this point, add the carrot slices and fresh peas (if using frozen, add in the last 5 minutes). Simmer until the vegetables are cooked and sauce slightly reduced.
  1. Serve with rice and choice of: boiled potato, fried yuca, sweet potato or Peruvian white beans.
Provecho Peru

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

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

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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8 Responses

  1. Tony B says:

    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.

  2. Val says:

    If you only have a regular light beer, can it substitute the dark beer or will it ruin the whole recipe?

  3. Rachel says:

    Does any of the beer end up in the stew? Is that what’s meant by “the meat, with all its juices”?

  4. Janeth says:

    What brand names do you recommend for dark beer? I do not know any

  5. Jen Rainusso says:

    This recipe is amazing!!! I like to cook the potatoe in with the stew – I add during the last 45 min or so. I cook the seco long and low so that the meat falls apart – approx 8-10 hours at 375.

  1. February 29, 2012

    […] 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 […]

  2. November 2, 2014

    […] evaporated milk and fresh cheese. The osso bucco was stewed in a delicious sauce said to be seco, however it was not green from lots of cilantro and seemed closer to my Dark Beer Braised Ribs […]

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