An ancient culinary tradition all but forgotten in urban Peru until the 1980s, huatia—food baked in pits lined with hot stones—has been traced back at least to the Incas.
- 3⁄4 cup white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 3 fresh mirasol or other hot chiles, 2 seeded and minced
- 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 4 lb. boneless chuck or round, cut into large pieces
- 4 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 large bunch fresh mint
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme
- 1 large bunch fresh rosemary
- 1 large bunch fresh oregano
- 1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 large bunch fresh cilantro
- 6 sweet potatoes
Place vinegar, cumin, minced chiles, and oil in a blender. Add 1⁄2 cup water and purée. Season with salt.
Place meat in a large bowl. Add vinegar mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place onions in a single layer in a large Dutch oven. Scatter mint, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, and cilantro on top, then add meat with marinade and whole chile. Cover and cook in oven, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and marinade and meat juices have combined to form an herb-perfumed broth, 2–3 hours.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes and place in a second large Dutch oven. Season with salt, cover, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. (Potatoes can also be wrapped in aluminum foil and roasted for about 1 hour.) Remove huatia and potatoes from oven. Season to taste with salt. Spoon meat and potatoes onto plates. Discard herbs, then spoon broth over meat and serve.