Seco sin Carne

Spain’s colonial foodways brought new ingredients and dishes from Spain, Africa, and the Middle East to the Americas. According to culinary historians, Peru’s seco evolved from North African tagines, a predominantly vegetable stew spiced with coriander. Over time, creole cooks added native Peruvian ingredients such as potatoes and aji amarillo (yellow hot pepper). Here, plant-based Gardein Beefless Tips make the dish vegan.Traditional seco recipes call for dark beer, but because I like using local ingredients and I live in the Pacific Northwest, I chose a Portland IPA. In many ways, this plant-based seco is a gateway dish for cooks who love meat and potato recipes but aren’t sure how to cook them vegan. Spicy, comforting, and hearty this seco sin carne (seco without meat) pairs great with beer or red wine. Serve with a side of steamed rice to mop up the cilantro and beer stock juice.

Seco sin Carne / Carrot and Potato Stew in Beer and Cilantro Stock

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons canola cooking oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 4 teaspoons aji amarillo paste
  • 4 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 1 large red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped into 1-inch squares
  • 1 bag frozen Gardein Beefless Tips, 9 ounces
  • 2 cups vegan beef stock
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 ounces IPA beer
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

In a heavy-bottom medium-size pot with cooking oil over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Add the aji amarillo, and continue to sauté 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in the potato, carrot, bell pepper, and vegan beef. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes and carrot are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a tall container, use an immersion blender to purée the cilantro with ½ cup of stock from the pot. Pour the cilantro purée into the pot, and mix well. Add the beer and stir in the green peas.
Serve warm with a side of steamed white rice.

Note: According to Gardein, the beefless tips require an internal temperature of 165°F to cook. I used a meat thermometer to verify the internal temperature while simmering.