by Veronica Cervera
Veronica Cervera at Machu Picchu
Many Peruvian dishes use potatoes, after all, there are over 7,000 varieties in Peru. Causa Limeña
2 pounds small yellow potatoes (Small Peruvian potatoes are preferable, but large yellow potatoes work just as well. Leave the skins on for extra vitamins.)
4 tbs. lime juice
1 cup shredded, cooked chicken or canned chicken breast
˝ red onion, julienned
3 tbs. mayonnaise
˝ cup vegetable oil
2 boiled eggs, to garnish
8 black botija olives, to garnish
3 tbs. ají amarillo (Most grocery stores carry this yellow chili paste. You can also order it from Amazon)
Causa Limeña: one of the most popular of the traditional Peruvian dishes.
Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about half an hour. Meanwhile boil the eggs, they must be hard, so they should boil for about 5 minutes.
Put the onion in a bowl with the lime juice. In a second bowl mix the chicken with the mayonnaise and a pinch of fresh ground white pepper.
When the potatoes are ready, mash them in a big bowl. Add the ají paste, and half of the oil, until everything is well combined. Add the lime juice from the onions, and the rest of the oil. Mix well.
Mix the chicken with the onions. Place a small ring mold on the plate. Spoon a layer of the mashed potatoes into the ring. Cut the avocado in slices and lay on the first layer of potatoes. Spread a second layer of mashed potatoes, and then layer with the chicken. Cover with a final layer of potatoes.
Pull the ring off the potato mixture, and garnish with slices of hard boiled eggs and/or black olives.
4 personal portions can be made from this recipe using a small ring mold, but a spring-form pan works well to make a single family-style portion. You can also use a casserole dish, but be sure to reverse the avocado and chicken layers, so the avocado will be on the bottom when you flip the dish to unmold the Causa.
For an extra-spicy Causa, add another tablespoon of ají amarillo to the mashed potatoes.
Buen provecho! Enjoy!
Veronica Cervera was originally from Cuba. Now based in Miami, she is an Account Executive for Santillana Publishing and, when she’s not reading, she spends hours cooking. Recently, she launched a blog called “Cocina al minuto con comida.” A literal translation is “Cook Fast with Food,“ which may not make sense initially, but the name originates from an old Cuban TV show.
Veronica explains: “The show featured a grandma who invented recipes every Sunday using strange combinations of whatever she could find at the grocery stores -- which in Cuba, typically had very little to offer. I always think of that show, now that I’m here in the States, cooking things that I never imagined I’d eat, reading the banned authors I always wanted to read, and traveling to faraway places I always dreamed of visiting. Life is delicious!”