Like other peruvian soups that make up the traditional culinary scene, el Menestrón also has foreign influences. According to the renowned chef Gastón Acurio, the origin of this soup comes from the minestrone, a traditional soup from the city of Liguria (Italy) that was made from a cocktail of legumes, potatoes, grains and pasta.
«Time passed and in Lima the Menestrón was born as a result of the meeting of the Genoese culture with the Creole seasoning that, in addition, incorporates ingredients from our land», he comments.
During the 19th century, precisely with the arrival of the Genoese colony in Peru, the stew stepped on national soil. In Peru, other ingredients were added, such as meat, corn, cassava, a few slices of cheese, herbs, and plenty of vegetables.
How to prepare El Menestron?
Today, the steaming presence of a Menestrón dish cannot be missed at lunchtime. And in winter you enjoy twice as much. For this to be succulent and to order, it is necessary to follow its preparation to the letter.
Ingredients: 1 kilo of strip roast, 1 kilo of beef brisket tip, 1 chopped onion, grated cheese (fresh and Parmesan, four tablespoons each), 2 tablespoons chopped basil, 4 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 leaves of laurel, ¼ cup of peas, ¼ kg of canary beans, 1 corn cut into pieces, 2 potatoes cut into small cubes, 1 cup of chopped celery, 1 turnip, 2 carrots (cut into small cubes), ¼ of fideos canutos , 1 cup of chickpeas (previously soaked), 1 cup of green beans, 1 cup of yucca and another of chopped cabbage, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, salt and pepper.
In a pot, cook the meats until they are completely soft. Once you have reached the point mentioned, add the cubes of carrots and turnips, the onion, the beans, chickpeas, peas, cabbage, celery and the pieces of corn. Let them cook.
When you notice that the ingredients are slightly thick, add the yucca, potatoes and noodles. Cook them. While this is happening, blend the basil and spinach, take the mixture to the pan and cook it with olive oil. Once you notice that the last ingredients added are ready, add the dressing. Stir until fully integrated.
Finally, add both types of cheese, salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Stir and ready. A piece of information shared by Gastón Acurio: stick a wooden spoon in the pot, if it remains standing, it means that the stew has reached the point of thickness and is ready to serve. You can accompany your Menestrón with previously toasted peasant bread.
Did you know…?
Basil – an ingredient responsible for giving color and flavor to Menestrón – has great benefits for the human body. According to nutritionist Rosa Elena Cruz, it is an herb that has vitamin L, beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin C. Therefore, it is ideal for protecting skin cells and, in addition, for proper blood coagulation.
Substantial and replenishing soups have been created in the different regions of Peru. At your table you cannot miss a convincing Sancochado, Shámbar, Patasca, Caldo verde or de gallina. Of course, you can’t stop trying a powerful shrimp Chupe or a chicken Inchicapi either.