Holiday Recipes We Love: Peruvian Pork

Surfish's "Peruvian Pork" (Photo/Chef Miguel Aguilar)

Surfish’s “Peruvian Pork” (Photo/Chef Miguel Aguilar)

A good roasted pork can find its way onto just about every Latin American Christmas dinner table. There’s the Cuban lechón, a whole pig marinated in citrus and garlic and cooked low-and-slow in a caja china. The Puerto Rican pernil, a juicy shoulder cut rubbed with garlic and herbs and oven roasted. And then there’s Peruvian pork, flavored with aji panca, a unique chile virtually unknown outside of the Andean region. Smokey, sweet and fruity all at once, the heat from this chile is precisely what makes Peruvian pork—well—Peruvian. We asked 43-year-old Lima-born Chef Miguel Aguilar, winner of the Food Network’s “Chopped” competition last summer and owner of Brooklyn’s Surfish restaurant, to share his recipe. Aside from the aji panca, Aguilar also uses soy sauce. “Peruvian food has a lot of fusion,” he says. “It has no barriers.”

Aguilar serves his Peruvian pork, pictured above, on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes and tops it with fresh salsa.

Peruvian Pork

10-pound pork shoulder
15 whole cloves of fresh garlic
1 big red onion cut in large pieces
15 ounces aji panca paste
2 quarts chicken stock
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup of soy sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place the pork skin side up in a large roasting pan, and pour the chicken stock over it.

3. In a blender, puree the garlic, onion, aji panca paste and soy sauce for about a minute, or until pasty. Add a little of the chicken stock to the puree to make it pourable, and pour over the pork.

4. Add the cinnamon sticks to the liquid and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 3 1/2 hours. No basting is needed. Remove from oven when internal temperature reaches 165, and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

5. To serve, place individual slices of pork on a bed of sweet potato puree, drizzle with the pork juices from the roasting pan, and garnish with freshly made salsa.

Originally published on

Cocktail: Pisco for the holidays


Move over tequila and rum, pisco has arrived in the U.S., and it looks like it is here to stay. Learn how to make this special drink for the holidays.

Pisco, which means “little bird” in the Quechua language, is a clear distilled liquor made from grapes and named after the town of Pisco, located on the coast of Peru.

This heavenly drink is the fastest-growing spirit in the U.S. In 2010, pisco imports and sales grew an astounding 101 percent, according to the Comisión Nacional del Pisco in Peru. Within the past three years, more than a dozen different brands of Peruvian pisco have become available in the U.S.

This year, award-winning and world-respected pisco judge, television personality, chef and restaurateur, Johnny Schuler has begun to distribute his record breaking medal-winning brand, Pisco Portón, to 27 markets in the U.S., including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Schuler describes good pisco as having a flavor more complex than a vodka and more subtle than a tequila.

“It is excellent for creating defining cocktails, as well as for savoring neat or as an apertif,” he says.

For Schuler, everything is about having a fully enjoyable experience. And as he wanted NBC Latino readers to have an unforgettable and beautiful pisco drink for the holidays, he excitedly invented a holiday cocktail just for us while visiting Nuela in New York City. He recommends drinking it while listening to Bing Crosby or Michael Bublé, and preferably while snowing outside.


White Christmas

1.5 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueor
1.5. oz. Pisco Portón
1 oz. heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 muddled Brazil nut

Shake chocolate liqueor, pisco and heavy cream in a shaker and pour in a martini glass. In a separate shaker, shake sugar, .5 oz. of heavy cream and Brazil nut. When this mixture gets heavy, pour on a spoon to create a layer on top. Garnish with cinnamon.

Originally published on