Anticuchos is the classic Peruvian street food, made with a taste-alike marinade created from ketchup and chili powder to replace the native Aji Panca. The sauce has a nice balance of sweet/tangy/spicy and would be good with other beef cuts or chicken as well. Serves 4-6.
1 beef heart, 2-3 pounds
2 T ketchup
2 T chili powder (I used 2/3 Tone brand, a mild version, and 1/3 chipotle)
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground cumin
6 T red wine vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Method: Cut the heart into bite-size pieces, discarding fat and connective tissue. Mix marinade ingredients and add the heart chunks, then marinate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Thread the chunk onto skewers (in Peru these are traditionally wood skewers, which need to be soaked in water first so they don’t catch fire). Grill until lightly charred, turning once. This should take less than 10 minutes on a medium flame; don’t overcook. Traditionally anticuchos are served with some mild dipping sauces (recipes here and here) and a chunk of corn and some boiled potatoes.
Note: With the skyrocketing cost of brisket, I’ve been looking for other meats to throw on the grill. Beef heart is a good solution. I had to special order it from my butcher, but it was just $4/pound and about 75% edible lean meat. Once it’s cooked, your guests will likely not recognize it as heart unless you tell them; it tastes like a tender steak though it’s red all the way through.
If you want to try the authentic recipe (or see how close my taste-alike version is), Aji Panca paste is available in jars from Amazon. It has a pleasant tangy/sweet flavor base which is how I came up with the ketchup substitution. To make the authentic version, substitute 6 T Aji Panca paste for the ketchup and chili powder and reduce vinegar to 4 T.