M. Andrew Gordon

When Peru and Venezuela Meet in Brighton

In Main Dish, Side Dishes, Soups and Stews on September 23, 2009 at 12:52 am

Wanting use up some red potatoes and grilled chicken and not wanting to take the time to stop at the store on my way home, I decided to try to make a stew inspired by a dish I had at a Peruvian restaurant back in February.  It had chicken, beans, and potato sitting in a rich and flavorful sauce.  I realize that red potatoes are probably not an accurate choice for a Peruvian dish, but this was not striving for regional accuracy.  This was just trying to make something quick for dinner.  As the potatoes and beans cook, they break down enough to thicken the stew.  I also used beer as the only liquid added to it to provide some more flavor.  Really, this blog could have been called “Just Add Beer” and it would make as much sense.

While that simmered, I tried a recipe from NYTimes food columnist Mark Bittman.  If you get a chance, his column – The Minimalist – and his blog, Bitten, often have really good recipes.  Arepas, a sort of Venezuelan corn cake, seemed like a good accompaniment to this stew.  In the end, the resulting arepas were not quite what I expected, being more of a hearty corn pancake.  Which I guess isn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I envisioned.

But combined, the two worked well together, the buttery arepas and the thick stew of beans, potato, and chunks of chicken is definitely something I will revisit this fall and winter.

“Peruvian” Chicken Stew


  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pepper, diced
  • ½ lb red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 can pink beans, rinsed
  • ½ bottle brown ale (drink the other half while cooking)
  • Approximately one breast of grilled chicken, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Cook shallots and garlic until soft.  Add pepper, cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, stirring to coat in oil.  Cook for several minutes.
  3. Add beans and beer, cover and turn heat to medium-low.  Cook for a few minutes and add chicken.
  4. When liquid has cooked off slightly and mixture is thickened, season with salt and pepper.
  1. I am happy to see this coming together. You are an inspiration to all! I have my fingers crossed for some future beer and food pairings :o) This is good stuff!!

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