This is my American version of adobo arequipeño, a pork stew from the southern Peruvian region of Arequipa. It's traditionally made with chicha, a fermented corn beverage that can be tricky to find in the United States. I found that hard apple cider replicates the flavor nicely. This is one of the simpler Peruvian dishes to make as you just marinate the pork and then dump everything into a Crock-Pot. The cider and slow cooker are what make this recipe “Americano” but also yield tender, flavorful chunks of pork and an addictive broth. You will want to have plenty of crusty bread on hand to soak up all the juices. —Carlos C. Olaechea
6 to 8
large red onion, quartered
large cloves garlic
ají panca paste, or to taste (see Note below for substitution)
(12-ounce) bottle hard cider
pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2 to 3–inch chunks
large red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch half moons
For the marinade, place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Place the pork into a large container. Pour the marinade onto the pork and coat all the pieces well. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. (This can also be done in a resealable plastic bag.)
Place the pork into a slow cooker along with all of the marinade. Add the stock and sliced onions and stir to combine. Cook on high for 6-8 hours, or until fork tender.
Serve in bowls with crusty bread.
Note: Ají panca is a dried chile that imparts a deep, mildly spicy flavor to many Peruvian dishes. It's typically soaked and ground into a paste. You can find jars of ají panca paste at many Latin American groceries or online, and it's worth getting if you want to make many other Peruvian dishes. If you cannot find ají panca paste, use 1 tablespoon sweet paprika and one teaspoon cayenne pepper.
I was born in Peru to a Limeño father and a Texan mother. We moved to Miami when I was five, and I grew up in the "Kendall-suyo" neighborhood—often called the 5th province of the Inca Empire because of its large Peruvian population. I've been writing about food since I was 11 years old, and in 2016 I received a master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University. A travel columnist at Food52, I'm currently based in Hollywood, Florida—another vibrant Peruvian community—where I am a writer, culinary tour guide, and consultant.