Peruvian Chicken Heart Anticuchos are an easy and healthy alternative to traditional anticuchos... Chicken hearts get soaked in an ají panca marinade before being skewered and grilled. 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?
Tamara Talks (about organ meats)
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 would be avoided.
What are Peruvian Anticuchos?
Anticuchos are a quintessential inexpensive meat dish 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, 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.
How to Make Peruvian Anticuchos
- chicken hearts
- ají panca paste
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- ground cumin
- sea salt
Anticuchos Cooking Steps
Make the marinade - Combine all marinade ingredients in a food process. Process until smooth.
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.
Marinate the chicken hearts - 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 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!
What to Serve with Peruvian Chicken Heart Anticuchos
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 aioli. Lima Easy is a "go to" resource when cooking Peruvian food, and they have many traditional Peruvian sauces.
Side dishes? In Peru, you'll always get some steamed giant corn (choclo). I guy 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. If you prefer a red, go for a tempranillo or pinot noir.
Tips and FAQ
I hate organ meats. What else can I use? Peruvians use an anticuchos marinade on beef and chicken hearts, but also beef steak or tenderloin, chicken thighs or breast, even fish. It's all about the marinade!
What sauces are the best? Peruvian Ají Verde almost always makes an appearance when I'm cooking Peruvian food. Rocoto based sauces are typical, but they're very hot! An ají amarillo sauce is not going to be nearly as hot.
Where can I find Peruvian pastes and other ingredients? I get many of my Peruvian ingredients at my local Latin foods market, but I can't get much in the way of fresh stuff. Amazon has many Peruvian shelf-stable ingredients like ají amarillo and ají panca.
Can I save leftovers? Honestly, I wouldn't. I don't care for leftover organ meats, but it's your call. If I use the marinade on chicken or beef, I'd not hesitate though!
Are you an adventuresome foodie, or does this totally turn you off? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
- 1 pound chicken hearts, trimmed
- 1/4 cup ají panca paste
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced (5-6 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Make the marinade - Combine all marinade ingredients in a food process. Process until smooth.
- 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.
- Marinate the chicken hearts - 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 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!
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).
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 309Total Fat: 24gCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 17g