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Pachamanca a la Olla

by Jasson Caceres

In the US, a birthday celebration usually means cake. In Peru, it's all about the pachamanca, which means "earth oven" and translates to a big hole dug in the ground that cooks up an entire meal. This recipe dates back to the Incan empire, and may also be made in a large pot on the stove. We used turkey and beef, but any meat may be used. The Peruvian aji pastes and chicha de jora can be found online or at most latino grocery stores.


2 pounds turkey pieces with bone

2 pounds beef roast, cut in pieces

2 tablespoons huacatay paste

3 tablespoons aji amarillo paste

3 tablespoons aji mirasol paste

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 liter of chicha de jora

1 pound frozen lima beans (or fresh fava beans if you can find them)

4-5 small sweet potatoes

4-5 small yellow potatoes

Drizzle the oil as necessary to brown the chicken and beef (you can use any type of meat). Once browned, add the chicha de jora, aji pastes as indicated, add salt to taste. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans (if using fava beans leave in the shells) and cilantro. Stir well and cover it with a dish towel or a clean cloth, then put the lid on. Let it cook undisturbed for 30 to 40 minutes. When the potato is soft, enjoy a typical Peruvian dish.

Note: aji pastes and chicha de jora are available online or at most latin grocery stores.

Serves 6-8.


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