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Tacu Lomo

Saskia Monteverde from United States

Serves
6
Preparation
30 minutes
Cooks in
90 minutes
Country of origin
Peru

I had my first taste of Tacu Lomo at a restaurant in Lima, when I was 11 years old. I remember how the dark and dimly lit space—adorned with various statues and paintings depicting antiquated wars—felt like a dungeon. My grandfather, brother, and I, were the only guests. It didn’t surprise me considering the decor—but what about the food?

“I want ceviche”, I said.
“No!”, my grandfather said, with a defiant smile on his face. “Today, I want you to try Tacu Lomo.”
I looked back at him with a squint, quickly glanced over at the server standing at attention a few feet away from our table, then sunk back into my chair.
“I want ceviche”, I murmured, to no avail.

Time went by. We had to wait so long for our meal that in order to keep our sanity, my brother and I took to composing a contemporary piece with our bright red 90’s windbreaker pants. The wait was excruciating, but it didn’t phase my grandfather who was enjoying his wine and sharing awkward jokes with the servers.

Sometime later, there it was. As a server made his way towards our table I could see him carrying an enormous egg shaped mass. Rice, beans, onion, garlic and aji amarillo, joined together in holy matrimony during a slow-fry ceremony. The dish was accompanied by sweet fried plantains and a fried egg placed gingerly on top.

I was fascinated— infatuated with it’s golden perfume. As I grabbed my fork and proceeded to crack its delicate shell, the Tacu Lomo spilled forth a yolk of juicy meat, tomato, and onions. I struggled to balance every single ingredient on my fork, and when I finally managed to get my first mouthful… I ceased to exist.

Back home in Miami, I begged my mom to learn how to make this dish. After some trial and error, she succeeded at preparing one of the best Tacu Lomos I have ever tasted and has since passed down her recipe to me. To date, there has not been a single person who has not fallen in love this comfort food the way I did so many years ago.

Ingredients

  • For the Tacu Tacu
  • 4 Cups of white rice, short-grain (can substitute with long-grain)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can substitute with any vegetable oil)
  • 1 Large red onion, minced
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 Tbsp of garlic Powder)
  • 1 (16 oz) bag of canary beans, pre-soaked for 8 hours (can substitute with any bean except black beans)
  • Dried oregano, to taste
  • 1 Medium red onion, julienned
  • 1 Aji Amarillo, seeded and julienned, OR 1 Tbsp Aji Amarillo Paste (can substitute with scotch bonnet)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the Lomo:
  • 2 Lbs lean beef, such as sirloin or ribeye, sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips, salt and peppered
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can substitute with any vegetable oil)
  • Fresh Aji Amarillo, seeded and sliced, OR paste (can substitute with any vegetable oil)
  • 2 Large Onions, cut into 1 inch thick wedges
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Medium-sized tomatoes, cut into 1 inch thick wedges
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Dried Oregano
  • Optional: 2 sweet plantains, fried
  • Optional: 6 fried eggs (1 per person)

Method

  • Prepare the rice according to package instructions.
  • In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then add garlic and minced onion, season with a dash of salt and a pinch of pepper. Sauté until onions are soft and slightly clear.
  • Add beans then fill pot with water until it reaches 2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low setting, and let simmer until beans are tender but still firm.
  • Add Oregano to taste and continue to let simmer for 5 more minutes. Add more salt to taste, if needed.
  • Remove pot from heat and softly mash beans. The goal should be an even mixture of mashed and whole beans.
  • In a separate pot mix the cooked rice and beans. Do not put all of the liquid from the beans into mixture as it should be moist, not wet.
  • In a large 12 or 10 inch skillet, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, then add julienned onions and aji to taste (try 1/3 of a fresh aji, or 1 tsp of paste to start). Continue to cook until onions are slightly browned.
  • Add rice and beans mixture, enough to make a 2 inch thick pancake (do not overflow pan), then reduce to medium-low heat, and cook until bottom is crispy and golden brown.
  • Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Then remove from heat and repeat steps until all of the rice and beans have been fried.
  • While frying the rice and beans. Take another large 12-inch skillet, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over high heat, add beef and brown on both sides.
  • Add aji amarillo, sauté for about a minute, stirring constantly. Then add onions, sauté for about a minute, and add 2 Tbsp of soy sauce. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, a pinch of oregano, and a handful of cilantro, then mix well.
  • Heat for another minute and serve with Tacu Tacu pancakes, sweet plaintains, and a fried egg.
  • Note: Beans and rice can be made a day in advance.

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