Anticuchos on the Grill
I scored big a couple of years ago when my younger daughter and her friends started gathering at our house every Monday night to have dinner and watch The Bachelor. I don’t know how I wrangled a date to feed/hang out with (on the fringe, in the other room, but still…) that cute crew of 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds weekly. You can learn a lot while teenaged girls are waiting in the kitchen for cookies to come out of the oven.
A couple of our Bachelor nights turned into theme nights, when we’d serve a dinner that paid homage to wherever in the world the bachelor or bachelorette and his or her groupies would be traveling. The most puzzling of those nights was when he or she was in Peru – what could we serve that was Peruvian?
The answer was anticuchos – tangy, slightly spicy and addictive cubes of sirloin grilled on skewers. My daughter tried them and immediately said with a full mouth, “This needs to be in your column.” So here we are.
Anticuchos are Peruvian street food created by African slaves who were brought to South America in the 1500s. Traditionally made from marinated beef heart, they are also popular made of pork, chicken or beef. Red wine vinegar gives them a distinct tang; garlic, cumin and pepper spice them up. And while they are not as ubiquitous as enchiladas and tacos, they have become something of a Tex-Mex staple, especially in San Antonio where they are a Fiesta tradition.
If you’re like me and are ready to turn off the oven for the summer, try grilling these anticuchos. They’re delicious served with Summer Corn with Herbs and Lime and maybe a big green salad. And they make checking out for a couple of hours and watching some bad TV a little more acceptable.
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
3 pounds sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
½ yellow onion, cut into 1-inch squares
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder and chile flakes. Place the meat in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over. Close the bag, squeezing any extra air out, and make sure the meat is coated evenly in the marinade. Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Spray metal skewers with non-stick cooking spray, or soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Thread the skewers with a cube of meat, a red pepper square and an onion square. Repeat until the skewers are full. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, turning once. Serve hot.
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