Spicy Hot Beef Kabobs (Anticuchos)

In Peru, these are made with beef hearts. It is believed that before cattle were brought by the Spanish, that they were probably made with the hearts of llamas.


  • 3 (1 pound) calves' hearts, trimmed*
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon annatto seed
  • 1/4 cup dried red chile peppers, seeded
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

* or 1 (2 1/2 pound) boneless beef sirloin steak, 1 inch thick


  1. Remove nerves and membranes from calves' hearts; cut hearts into 1-inch cubes. Place in large glass bowl.
  2. Mash garlic, jalapeno pepper, cumin, salt, the 2 teaspoons water and peppercorns to a smooth, thick paste, using the flat side of a wooden mallet on cutting surface. Toss garlic mixture with hearts until thoroughly coated. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in vinegar and the 1/3 cup water. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 24 hours.
  4. Cover annatto seed with boiling water. Let stand for at least 12 hours.
  5. Remove heart pieces, one at a time, from garlic mixture, using tongs and shaking off garlic and jalapeno pieces. Reserve garlic mixture.
  6. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over chile peppers. Let stand for 30 minutes; drain.
  7. Drain annatto seed.
  8. Place chile peppers, annatto seed, oil, salt and 3/4 cup reserved garlic mixture in blender container. Cover and blend on high speed, stopping blender to scrape sides occasionally, until smooth and well blended, about 3 minutes.
  9. Thread heart cubes on six (11-inch) skewers. Brush with annatto mixture.
  10. Set oven to broil or 550 degrees F. Broil with tops about 4 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Turn; brush with sauce. Broil until medium rare, 5 to 6 minutes longer.
  11. Heat remaining annatto mixture to boiling; serve with kabobs.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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