Cute, cuddly and… utterly delicious. You may consider guinea pig unappetising but, all things considered, is it really much worse than a tray of Tesco’s finest pseudo meat lasagne? The Peruvians who have bred ‘cuy’ for thousands of years are certainly wise farmers. Guinea pigs need half the amount of food than cows to produce exactly the same amount of meat. Low-cost, low-carbon and high-protein, all you need is a back yard and a few salad scraps and before you know it you have a self-sufficient Sunday roast.
Most Peruvians BBQ or bake their cuy whole. On this occasion, however, I sampled a slightly more gourmet version at Cusco’s La Mia Manera. Much like confit de canard, they rubbed the cuy in salt, garlic and herbs and left it in the fridge over night. It was then slow cooked in oil for several hours and finished in the pan to crisp up the skin. The result: A wonderfully rich and sticky meat with game overtones. Despite the clichés it tasted nothing like chicken! If you’re a crackling fan then look no further – I’m counting down ‘til we see cuy scratchings served in gastro pubs (you heard it here first).
Dear little cousins, a word of warning….if by chance you chose to ask Santa for a guinea pig this Christmas, make sure to ask for a cage with a decent lock. It will be for your new pet’s own good.
What’s the strangest meat you’ve encountered? Leave your comments below…