As we mentioned previously, Pique Macho seems to be more of a generalized idea than a specific recipe. With that in mind, we took inspiration from the couple of different variations that we had and came up with our own take on it. First of all, we weren’t going to make the enormous portions that we found in Bolivia, so we scaled things down without cutting back on taste. At its core, it is comfort food. Simple, tasty, flavorful, and something that you can eat over and over again. We have to admit that, even though we’re obviously not Bolivian, our dish turned out to be pretty darn delicious. We decided to leave the seeds in since we didn’t have the spicy salsa that was normally served with the dish and it certainly added plenty of heat, but we like things spicy. Feel free to give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
1 lb Partially Cooked Beef (Steak, Chuck Roast, or any other variety of beef) seasoned with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper
2 Medium Potatoes – par-boiled and sliced into quarter-inch slices
1 Medium Red Pepper – roughly chopped
1/2 Yellow or White Onion – roughly chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper – sliced, seeds included or removed depending upon your preference
1 Hot Dog – cut into half-inch pieces
1 Tomato – cut into eighths
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Cook the beef and potatoes and let them cool. Do not over cook them as they will be cooked further when combined with the rest of the ingredients. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the par-boiled potatoes. After five minutes, add the red pepper and onions and continue to cook. After another ten minutes, add the jalapeno pepper, hot dog, and beef. Add salt and pepper and cook for another ten minutes, stirring constantly. Serve on a plate with the tomato, seasoned with salt and pepper. Serve with an ice-cold beer if desired :). Serves two.
We didn’t have any preconceptions about the food of Bolivia or, in this case, specifically of Cochabamba. We had heard about Pique Macho, but didn’t know exactly what it was. What we discovered is that meals in Cochabamba were larger than we expected. Not just the Pique Macho, which is known to be a huge plate of food, but every meal that we were served were huge portions. The other thing we found was that every meal was served with an extremely spicy salsa, which is eaten on garlic bread as well as over top of the meal itself.
We ordered a half order of the Pique Macho to share and still weren’t able to eat the whole meal. Almost every meal included potatoes, usually cooked as French fries, and sometimes it would include both potatoes and rice. We like to share meals anyway, but we found that we couldn’t finish almost any meal while we were in Cochabamba. Later, when we went to La Paz, we found that the size of the meals and the quantity of food eaten in Cochabamba was larger than in other parts of the country. They are extremely proud that all of the food is locally grown and Cochabamba is considered the gastronomical center of Bolivia. Unlike Peru where fusion food is everywhere, Bolivia seemed to just beginning to embrace fusion food to raise the bar of traditional Bolivian food.
We also found that Bolivia produced pretty good local beer and wine. We always want to enjoy as much of local and traditional food and we definitely ate some interesting meals. We did a ton of walking while we were in Bolivia, which probably was good since the meals were so heavy. At some point we’re going to try and make our own version of Pique Macho here at home, but clearly not as large of a portion. It is basically a pretty simple dish of beef, hot dogs (sausages), tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, and in some cases boiled eggs. Despite the fact that it is considered a traditional Bolivian dish, we saw it prepared differently at various restaurants, so it seems that it is more of style than a very specific dish.