Guatita recipe: Ecuador’s Hearty Homage to Tradition

Embark on a culinary expedition to Ecuador’s heartland, where the rich tapestry of flavors unfolds in a bowl of Guatita. This traditional Ecuadorian dish is not merely a soup; it’s a testament to the country’s culinary heritage, blending indigenous and Spanish influences into a savory celebration of hearty ingredients. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the recipe for Guatita, uncovering the essential ingredients, the meticulous preparation, and the cultural significance that make this dish a beloved part of Ecuador’s gastronomic identity.

Understanding Guatita: A Culinary Fusion of Heritage:

Guatita holds a special place in Ecuadorian cuisine, particularly for its historical and cultural significance. This hearty stew is a testament to the fusion of indigenous and Spanish culinary traditions, featuring an array of ingredients that showcase Ecuador’s agricultural abundance. At its core, Guatita is a celebration of resourcefulness, utilizing ingredients like tripe and potatoes to create a flavorful and comforting dish that resonates with the Ecuadorian spirit.

Ingredients for Ecuadorian Guatita:

Guatita is a symphony of flavors, bringing together tripe, potatoes, peanuts, and a blend of spices to create a rich and satisfying stew.

  1. Beef Tripe: 1 pound, thoroughly cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces. Tripe is the star of Guatita, known for its unique texture and ability to absorb flavors.

  2. Potatoes: 4 medium-sized, peeled and diced. Potatoes add a starchy element to the stew.

  3. Peanuts: 1 cup, roasted and ground. Peanuts contribute a rich and nutty flavor to the broth.

  4. Onions: 2 large, finely chopped. Onions form the aromatic base of the stew.

  5. Tomatoes: 3 medium-sized, diced. Tomatoes add juiciness and acidity to the dish.

  6. Bell Peppers: 2, one red and one green, finely chopped. Bell peppers enhance the color and flavor profile of Guatita.

  7. Garlic: 4 cloves, minced. Garlic adds a savory kick to the stew.

  8. Achiote Powder: 1 tablespoon. Achiote provides a subtle earthy flavor and imparts a golden hue to the stew.

  9. Ground Cumin: 1 teaspoon. Cumin adds warmth and depth to the dish.

  10. Fresh Cilantro: 1/2 cup, finely chopped. Cilantro contributes freshness and a hint of citrus.

  11. Milk: 1 cup. Milk adds a creamy texture to the stew.

  12. Hard-Boiled Eggs: 4, peeled and halved. Hard-boiled eggs serve as a traditional garnish.

  13. Peanut Butter: 2 tablespoons. Peanut butter enhances the nutty flavor of the stew.

  14. Vegetable Oil: 2 tablespoons. Vegetable oil is used for sautéing and adds richness to the stew.

  15. Salt and Pepper: To taste. Balances and enhances the overall seasoning.

Preparation: Crafting the Perfect Ecuadorian Guatita:

Creating the perfect Guatita involves a careful balance of flavors and a slow simmering process to allow the ingredients to meld together harmoniously. Let’s embark on the step-by-step journey to craft this Ecuadorian tripe stew.

Step 1: Prepare the Tripe:

  1. Thoroughly Clean Tripe: Clean the beef tripe thoroughly, removing any impurities. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Step 2: Sauté Aromatics:

  1. Sauté Onions: In a large pot, heat vegetable oil and sauté finely chopped onions until they become soft and translucent.

  2. Add Bell Peppers and Garlic: Incorporate finely chopped bell peppers and minced garlic into the pot, continuing to sauté until the vegetables are aromatic.

Step 3: Incorporate Tomatoes and Achiote:

  1. Add Diced Tomatoes: Introduce diced tomatoes to the pot, stirring them into the onion and pepper mixture. Allow the tomatoes to release their juices.

  2. Incorporate Achiote Powder: Sprinkle achiote powder into the pot, providing a subtle earthy flavor and a golden color to the stew.

Step 4: Brown Tripe and Potatoes:

  1. Brown Tripe: Add the cleaned and cut tripe to the pot, allowing it to brown slightly. This step enhances the depth of flavor in the stew.

  2. Add Diced Potatoes: Introduce the peeled and diced potatoes to the pot, stirring them into the tripe and vegetable mixture.

Step 5: Season and Simmer:

  1. Season with Cumin, Salt, and Pepper: Season the mixture with ground cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Ensure the flavors are well-balanced.

  2. Simmer: Pour enough water into the pot to cover the ingredients. Allow the stew to simmer over low heat until the tripe is tender, and the potatoes are cooked through. This typically takes 2-3 hours.

Step 6: Add Ground Peanuts and Milk:

  1. Incorporate Ground Peanuts: Add roasted and ground peanuts to the pot, stirring them into the stew to impart a rich and nutty flavor.

  2. Pour in Milk: Gradually pour in milk, creating a creamy texture. Stir the stew gently to incorporate the milk evenly.

Step 7: Finish with Peanut Butter and Cilantro:

  1. Add Peanut Butter: Introduce peanut butter to the stew, enhancing the nutty flavor and thickening the broth.

  2. Stir in Fresh Cilantro: Finally, stir in finely chopped fresh cilantro, infusing the stew with a burst of freshness and a hint of citrus.

Step 8: Serve with Hard-Boiled Eggs:

  1. Ladle into Bowls: Ladle the hot Guatita into individual serving bowls, ensuring each bowl has a generous mix of tripe, potatoes, and broth.

  2. Garnish with Hard-Boiled Eggs: Garnish each bowl with halves of hard-boiled eggs, adding a traditional touch to the dish.

Tips for Perfect Ecuadorian Guatita:

  1. Cleaning and Preparing Tripe:

    • Thorough Cleaning: Clean the beef tripe thoroughly, removing any impurities. Cutting it into bite-sized pieces ensures even cooking.
  2. Layering Flavors:

    • Sautéing Aromatics: Sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic to create a flavorful base for the stew. This step forms the foundation of Guatita’s taste profile.
  3. Browning Tripe and Potatoes:

    • Enhancing Depth: Browning the tripe and adding diced potatoes contribute to the depth of flavor in the stew. Allow the ingredients to cook together for a harmonious taste.
  4. Slow Simmering Process:

    • Tenderizing Tripe: Simmer the stew over low heat for 2-3 hours to ensure the tripe becomes tender and the potatoes are fully cooked. This slow process allows the flavors to meld.
  5. Incorporating Ground Peanuts and Milk:

    • Rich Nutty Flavor: Ground peanuts and milk add richness to the stew. Gradually incorporate these ingredients to achieve a creamy and nutty texture.
  6. Balancing Flavors:

    • Seasoning and Adjusting: Season the stew with ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to achieve a well-balanced flavor profile.
  7. Final Touch with Peanut Butter and Cilantro:

    • Enhancing Nuttiness: Adding peanut butter enhances the nutty flavor and thickens the broth. Stir in fresh cilantro at the end for a burst of freshness.
  8. Traditional Garnish with Hard-Boiled Eggs:

    • Classic Addition: Garnish each bowl with halves of hard-boiled eggs, a traditional and visually appealing touch to the Guatita.

Conclusion: Savoring Ecuador with Guatita:

In conclusion, Guatita invites you to savor the warmth and richness of Ecuadorian traditions in a single bowl. From the tender tripe to the creamy potatoes, the nuttiness of peanuts, and the aromatic blend of spices, each spoonful is a journey through Ecuador’s cultural tapestry.

As you embark on your own culinary adventure to create Guatita, relish in the layering of flavors, the slow simmering process, and the joy of serving a stew that encapsulates the heartiness of Ecuadorian cuisine. Whether enjoyed on a chilly evening or as a festive dish with loved ones, Guatita brings the spirit of Ecuadorian hospitality to your table. So, gather your ingredients, immerse yourself in the delightful experience of crafting and savoring a bowl of Guatita—one that captures the essence of Ecuador’s culinary heritage.

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