Chicken Heart Anticuchos

Peruvian Chicken Heart Anticuchos (anticuchos de corazones de pollo) are an easy and healthy alternative to traditional anticuchos… Chicken hearts get soaked in an ají panca marinade before being skewered and grilled kabob-style. With a couple of tasty dipping sauces and an easy side or two, you’ll love this twist on a traditional Peruvian recipe! Are you on board with chicken hearts?

Peruvian chicken heart anticuchos skewered on 2 oval cast iron plates with choclo and roasted purple potatoes.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Anticuchos de Corazones de Pollo

Organ meats in general tend to be polarizing, right? If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you probably know I embrace organ meats. You’ve seen lengua tacos, beef tongue sandwiches, and Mexican grilled chicken hearts. Yuck or yum?

The response to my Mexican grilled chicken hearts has surprised me. While they certainly didn’t “go viral,” they do get consistent traffic. With this in mind, I wanted to do another chicken hearts recipe because they’re cheap so affordable, and they are definitely a fairly lean and high quality protein source.

Given my love of traditional Peruvian anticuchos made with beef heart, I felt confident the marinade would work as well with chicken heart, and the difficult process of breaking down a big beef heart wouldn’t be missed! Additionally, a beef heart feeds a party, and I’m cooking for two most nights!

🍴What are Peruvian Anticuchos?

A styrofoam container of Peruvian beef anticuchos on a stick with a boiled potato.

Anticuchos are a quintessential Peruvian street food originating in the Andes during the pre-Columbian era, specifically in the Antisuyu region of the Tawantinsuyu (Inca Empire). The modern dish found all over Peru – on street carts, family cafés, and in fine dining establishments – and can be traced back as far as the 16th century.

According to the text file from the National Library in Lima, it is believed that the term comes from the Quechua antikuchu (cut stew meat). While the most common anticuchos are made with beef heart (anticuchos de corazon), you will also find chicken heart, chicken liver, beef tenderloin, fish, chicken, etc. It’s all about the marinade! And let’s not forget the sauces!

I personally have had anticuchos from a street vendor in Aguas Caliente (Machu Picchu town) and in one of Gaston Acurio’s restaurants in Cuzco, from street vendors and family restaurants. Twice I have made anticuchos with beef heart, and I adore them. Unfortunately, the process of breaking down beef heart is tedious.

My professional chef son (and favorite kitchen partner) moved to North Carolina last year, and I’ve not worked up the courage to break them down by myself. AND. THEY ARE BIG! I’m cooking for two.

📋 Chicken Heart Anticuchos Ingredients

  • chicken hearts – This anticuchos recipe specifies chicken hearts, but the marinade is delicious on any protein that can be skewered. As mentioned above, beef heart is most typical, but it’s way too much meat for 2 adults!
  • ají panca paste There is no substitute for ají panca paste that will duplicate the unique flavor of the anticuchos marinade.
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • garlic
  • ground cumin
  • oregano
  • sea salt
ingredients for Peruvian chicken heart anticuchos on a wood cutting board.
All of the marinade ingredients processed until smooth.
  • Make the marinade – Combine all marinade ingredients in a food process. Process until smooth.
The anticuchos marinade ingredients - aji panca, garlic, cumin, oregano with olive oil and red wine vinegar - in a zip bag alongside a bowl of trimmed chicken hearts.
  • Trim the chicken hearts – Once the anticuchos marinade is made, place it in a quart zip bag. Trim the chicken hearts of fat and blood vessels where obvious.
A zip bag on a cutting board of Peruvian chicken hearts anticuchos marinating.

  • Marinate the chicken hearts – Once the chicken hearts are trimmed, add them to the prepared marinade. Marinate 1 to 2 hours.
Skewered Peruvian chicken heart anticuchose in a pyrex dish prior to going on the grill.
  • Skewer the chicken hearts – Skewer the chicken hearts on your preferred skewers. I serve these both as appetizers and a main dish. On photo day, I was serving them as a main dish, so I allowed about 4-6 ounces per person. I cut bamboo skewers in half (after soaking), and did 5 on each. Grill about 2 minutes on a side. They are easily over-cooked!
An oval cast iron plate with 3 Peruvian chicken anticuchos alongside roasted purple potatoes, choclo (giant corn), and 2 sauces - aji verde and rocoto aioli.

❓ FAQ

I hate organ meats. What else can I use?

Peruvians use an anticuchos marinade on beef and chicken hearts, but also on beef steak or tenderloin, chicken thighs or breast, even fish. It’s all about the marinade!

Where can I find Peruvian pastes and other ingredients?

I get most of my Peruvian ingredients at our awesome Latin foods market, but their selection of fresh ingredients is limited. I try to find US equivalents for some of the dishes when I can. Amazon has many Peruvian pantry ingredients like ají amarillo paste, ají panca paste, and purple corn.

💭 Top Tip

Kitchen shears make quick work of trimming any fat or blood vessels from the chicken hearts.

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

I am a big fan of Peruvian sauces! As you can see, I had 2 sauces on photo day – my Peruvian ají verde, and a rocoto sauce. I also like to serve anticuchos with salsa criolla or this Peruvian yellow sauce (with ají amarillo paste).

Side dishes? In Peru, you’ll always get some steamed giant corn (choclo). I buy choclo in the freezer section of my Latin foods market.

Peru has a wealth of root vegetables, and most are not available outside of the country. Their unique produce leaves this food blogger scrambling for equivalents. Roasted purple fingerling potatoes add a semi-authentic touch to the dish.

As to beverages? Our preference is a dry Spanish rosé or a saison (craft beer). If you prefer a red, go for a tempranillo or pinot noir.

Are you an adventuresome foodie, or does this totally turn you off? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

An oval cast iron plate with 3 Peruvian chicken anticuchos alongside roasted purple potatoes, choclo (giant corn), and 2 sauces - aji verde and rocoto aioli.

Peruvian Chicken Anticuchos

Chicken hearts marinated in aji panca, spices, vinegar and oil are grilled and served with choclo and roasted potatoes…
5 from 2 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Time to Marinate 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Dishes
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 309 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound chicken hearts - trimmed of fat and blood vessels
  • ¼ cup ají panca paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic - minced (5-6 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Make the marinade – Combine all marinade ingredients in a food process. Process until smooth.
  • Marinate the chicken hearts – Once the anticuchos marinade is made, place it in a quart zip bag. Trim the chicken hearts of fat and blood vessels where obvious. Once the chicken hearts are trimmed, add them to the prepared marinade. Marinate 1 to 2 hours.
  • Skewer the chicken hearts – Skewer the chicken hearts on your preferred skewers. I serve these as both an appetizer and a main dish. On photo day, I was serving them as a main dish, so I allowed about 4-6 ounces per person. I cut bamboo skewers in half (after soaking), and did 5 on each. Grill about 2 minutes on a side. They are easily over-cooked!

Notes

As mentioned in the post, I typically serve with roasted purple fingerling potatoes, giant corn, and a couple of Peruvian sauces. Sweet corn is a fine substitution for choclo (giant corn).
Macronutrients are an approximation only from MyFitnessPal.com

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 24g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

Peruvian Sauces...

A collection of my Peruvian-inspired (not always authentic) salsas!

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2 Comments

  1. I had chicken hearts recently at a restaurant and knew I had to try to make them myself! The marinade is delicious and they are so easy to cook. Great recipe.