The Star Meal of the Day – Menestra

A frequently consumed meal at NPH Peru.
October 17, 2016 - Peru

A freshly served plate of menestra.

While most are still sleeping at 4:00 a.m., one of our cooks is already hard at work preparing breakfast for 120 people. During the school year, children will start arriving in the kitchen at about 6:00 a.m. to pick up breakfast, and then take it to their “casita” to consume it before going to school or starting their day. A few hours later, two more cooks will come to assist in preparing lunch for 130 people, which includes our staff members who work until 6:00 p.m.

Lunch is the star meal of the day at NPH Peru, and is usually accompanied by a salad and juice. While our menu varies greatly, one staple that we can always count on is called menestra or a bean stew in English. As our bean harvest occurs during the summer months, we are able to prepare this dish with our own homegrown ingredients.

This is a recipe that our cooks would follow to make menestra for approximately 130 people.

12 kilos of rice

8 kilos of beans

2 kilos of pork

1 kilo of onion

¼ kilo of garlic

Aji Amarillo (a Peruvian hot pepper)

Oil (amount depends on the chef)

Spices: Salt, Cumin, Pepper, Oregano (amount depends on the chef)

Soak the beans the night before you prepare the meal. On the following day, rinse the beans and then boil them in a very large pot of water for approximately 30 minutes. Then carefully drain the water. Next, in a large pan (as shown in the photo), add oil, diced pork, and diced onion until you begin to see a golden color. Then add the garlic, aji, cumin, and pepper. Add in the beans and get them to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let it cook for approximately two hours. Towards the end you can add salt and oregano.

Dice up your favorite vegetables for a salad, or as we traditionally do here in home: diced cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, and a simple lime dressing. Pineapple juice also goes very well with this dish.

Enjoy your menestra!

Anna Hester   
Communication Officer




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