Seco de carne beef stew recipe photo
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Seco de Carne

This recipe is ideal for those days when you want to spoil your family and we’re out of ideas. Be a dinner table hero with this recipe for exquisite Seco de Carne.This typical Peruvian family stew is most often prepared with beef.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 4 People


  • 1 kg Beef cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoon corn oil You can use another vegetable oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 teasppon ground cumin
  • 2 peppers finely chopped
  • 1 cup purple onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup tomato cut into squares
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup green peas
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooked white rice (optional)
  • Fried plantain (optional)


  • First, it is very important to pick the right cut of meat. Although you can choose from many cuts, it’s best to select lean meat. Make sure it’s firm but tender. Our choice is top sirloin, and we prefer to cut it at home to make sure that all meat cubes have a similar size, ideally with cubes of 1.5 to 2 cm. After cutting the meat, rinse and dry with a dish towel
    chopped cubed meat for seco de carne
  • With the help of a mortar, grind the garlic with the peppercorns, salt and cumin. Crush to get a paste of similar consistency. Next, season the meat with the mixture, rubbing well for a few minutes. Marinate for about thirty minutes in a container covered in the refrigerator.
  • Put a deep iron pot or saucepan over medium high heat and add two tablespoons of corn oil. When the pot beings to get very hot, add the cubes of meat little by little, one next to the other, so that all the cubes are in contact with the hot surface of the pot. Cook the cubes on all sides, carefully seal the meat. This will ensure that the flesh has a golden tone and remains juicy inside. When the meat starts to release its juices, add the finely cut tomato, the yellow pepper and the onion. Cook for a few minutes and add the potato cubes. Try to make the potato cube sizes similar to that of meat cubes. 
    stir fry meat in deep pot
  • Add the purple onion, garlic, and aji amarillo paste to the pot. Stir until soft.
    add onions and peppers to seco de carne
  • Stir fry the potatoes. Expect five to ten more minutes of cooking, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, put the cilantro in the blender with the water and blend for about 3 minutes. Authentic Seco de Carne uses culantro/cilantro, but if you cannot find it, coriander is a fine substitute. You can also replace one or two cups of water with cups of beer. (note: these are regional variations of Seco de Carne). This recipe is more traditional.
    cilantro in blender
  • Cook the covered meat for a half hour to 45 minutes, or until the meat is soft. If you notice that the stew is drying up a lot, add one more cup of water. A few minutes before removing from heat, add the peas. Don’t cook the delicate peas for more than five minutes. We use fresh peas, but with the frozen peas it works the same. Let the Seco de Carne rest about ten minutes before serving.
    add peas to the seco de carne recipe
  • Add an accompaniment. Among the most common are: white rice flavored with sweet chili, boiled yucca, white bean stew or fried plantain. You could also add a few slices of avocado and purple onion as a garnish when presenting the dish.
    seco de carne with fried plantain and rice