Customs, Peruvian Cuisine, Traditional Food

Union of Savory and Sweet in Carnival, Cusco’s Puchero

Have a dish of Puchero (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Have a dish of Puchero (Walter Coraza Morveli)

The colorful and wet feasts of Carnival are strongly felt in our city today. Today, Sunday, the 8th of February, throughout Peru Carnival reigns. The feast comes with everything. All will Have fun in the refreshing play with water. They will enjoy water, drink, and the beautiful dances that are found in most of the city.

Though Carnival is celebrated everywhere, only in the neighborhoods of our city are unsaid as held. These are typical for our Carnival.In order to put up the feast, everyone who lives in the same neighborhood gives support. They collaborate by pulling together all that is necessary so that the feast is unforgettable and so that those who come from elsewhere to see the yunsada will take away a great memory of Cusco’s Carnival.

There are many things that require the cooperation of people in order to carry out the feast. One of the most important is preparing the food for the whole day. That is very demanding. All the neighborhoods women come together in a single place to take charge of making the meal, a one-pot-meal called puchero. Many people also call it t’impu. It is a traditional dish of Carnival for the tables of Cusco. In huge pots the women prepare this delicious dish so that people can enjoy it at lunch time and charge themselves with energy in order to continue with the fiesta.

This exquisite dish is made from beef, lamb, salted dried meat (chalona), potatoes, sweet potatoes, yuca, carrots, corn, rice, cabbage, garbanzos, moraya (white chuño), peaches, or pears. All of these are served up on the same plate and form an abundant meal as we are accustomed to eat in Cusco. Sometimes you will see people look at their plate and wonder where they should begin eating.

Yuca Rebosada and Puchero
Yuca Rebosada and Puchero

The flavor of the dish is incredible. It is unusual for us to eat something sweet together with something savory. Eating a bit of this dish, though, you will sense an amazing and incomparable flavor.

All the ingredients are cooked in the same pot, except the corn. They make it up like a soup and when it is all cooked the drain off the liquid to begin to serve the boiled dish. The way of putting it on the plate is as follows. You place a bit of each ingredient on a plate and finally cover it with a cabbage leaf. That is how the majority serve it, even if not everyone does.

Before people are served the puchero, they are given a bit of broth in which it all was cooked. They do it as a first course, to open appetite, so people can begin feeling the pleasure of this food.

These are the ingredients with which we prepare our puchero in Cusco. In other places the ingredients vary according to what is found there. In the jungle, for example, the add banana and on the coast sausage and bacon.

While eating, the adults can watch the youths, young men and women, run around, throwing water at each other. They can listen to beautiful Carnival music and enjoy the puchero while conversing with all the people around them. This is something unique that is only lived thanks to this feast of Carnival.

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