Golden Puka Picante

For the New Year I am going to try to make dishes from countries and cultures that I have not cooked from before. I've been binge watching a little Top Chef and one of the chefs was making an Andean stew, so I was inspired to try my hand at Peruvian cuisine. 

So today I made Puka Picante...DO NOT Google translate what this means! Using a Spanish-to-English translator I learned that puca/puka means poo! But since this dish is actually a  pre-Columbian Peruvian dish, puka is a Quechuan word (it means red). The heart of this dish is potatoes in a spiced beet and peanut sauce. The traditional red color of this dish is of course from the beets, but I subbed golden beets that I bought this morning from my local Farmer's Market. #GoTexan! I also made a stop at my local Fiesta, a Latin American grocery store that I was sure would have aji panco paste...unfortunately they did not, so I subbed dried morita peppers and made my own paste. Since this dish was stew-like I served it over some rice.The dish has a nice spice that is calmed by the peanut sauce and a good earthiness from the beets. Enjoy!

Puca Picante
2 C golden beet juice (about 3-4 beets)
3 large russet potatoes
1 medium red onion (chopped)
1/4 C (about 7) dried morita peppe
1/4 C roasted peanuts in shell
6 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 can vegetable broth
1 C water
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper
dash white pepper
vegetable oil
cilantro, for garnish

1. Make the chili paste. Add 1/4 C chilis, 3 garlic cloves, and dash of salt to 1/4 C boiling water. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Using high speed blender, blend into a paste. Set aside.
2. Juice the beets. In a blender add beet juice and shelled, peeled peanuts and a dash of salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a stockpot or large skillet add oil and heat to medium. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add garlic, chili paste, cumin, white pepper, and black pepper. Cook another 3-4 minutes.
5. Add potatoes, broth, and water, stir. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to medium setting and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
6. Add beet/peanut mixture and stir until potatoes are well coated. Season to taste if necessary. 
7. Serve with cilantro and garlic rice (medium grain rice cooked with sautéed garlic, oil and a little salt).