Saturday, December 13, 2008

Easy and Impressive Entertaining


We are getting close to the end of the year which means the predictions for 2009 are running rampant. I read an article in Epicurious written by James Oliver Curry that predicted Peruvian is the new Thai.

Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in the world and is on par with French, Chinese and Indian Cuisine. Thanks to its pre-Incas and Inca heritage and to Spanish, Basque, African, Sino-Cantonese, Japanese and finally Italian, French and British immigration, Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents. Along the Peruvian coast alone there are more than two thousand different types of soups and more than 250 traditional desserts.

Although I am not one to get carried away with trends, this is a good one. Anything that combines many different regional flavors and can be made ahead of time is the perfect entertaining solution. The recipe I chose, Smoked Chicken in a Banana Leaf, not only tastes delicious but is super easy to prepare. And for the finishing touch it is steamed in a banana leaf which is a beautiful exotic presentation. If you don’t live in an area with Latin or Asian supermarkets you can purchase banana leaves online at

Pair the main course with one of many Peruvian side dishes and serve the traditional Pisco Sour which is a cocktail containing Pisco (a regional Brandy), lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup and bitters. You will score major points with your guests for being original and creative and little will they know it only takes 30 minutes to prepare. --b

Smoked Chicken in a Banana Leaf
Serves 4.

· 2 fresh red hot chili pepper, chopped
· 1/4 cup lime, juice
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
· 2 tsp minced garlic
· 1 tsp paprika
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 tsp dried oregano
· 2 lime leaf, finely chopped
· 1/4 cup chicken stock
· 1/4 cup coconut milk

· 1 smoked chicken, (about 1 1/2 lbs), meat removed from the bones and shredded Plantain
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· 1 1 large plantain, peeled and sliced on the diagonal, 1/2-inch thick
· 1 tbsp sugar

· 4 banana leaves
· 4 sprigs fresh coriander


1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste.
2. Put the chicken in a non-reactive bowl and rub the marinade all over.
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

1. The next day, remove chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick saucepan.
3. Sprinkle the plantain with sugar and fry until golden and softened, about 2 minutes per side. 4. Remove from the heat and set aside.

1. Heat a grill on medium-high heat.
2. Divide the chicken among the banana leaves
3. Top with the plantains and the coriander sprigs.
4. Tie the banana leaves with kitchen twine, or a banana leaf torn into strips.
5. Put the packages on the top shelf of the barbecue for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is hot.


Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious and the presentation is so opening a present! Love it HH!!

Stephanie Nikolopoulos said...

Thanks for the recipe! I read the same article and posted about it too:

Can you recommend any good Peruvian restaurants in NYC?

Hip Hostess said...

Hi your blog. My favorite Peruvian restaurant is Mancora 99 1st Ave at 6th St. 212-253-1011. My suggestion for dishes is Corvina Frita-fried fish, Piopio-roasted chicken, Halea-like ceviche but steamed, Lomo Saltedo-beef strips with veggies. I hope that helps and let me know what you think of the restaurant. All the Best.