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Inspired at EPCOT: Peruvian Chicken Stew

Posted Mar 12 2013 7:15am

One of my favorite trips of all time was back in November 2007 when The Hubs and I went to Walt Disney World with my parents and brother for the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival .  If you have not been to the Food and Wine Fest it is truly fantastic—especially if you are into learning about food, wine…and tasting it too!

Fit Moms & Full Plates:  Wine Taste Seminar

Fit Moms & Full Plates: Wine Taste Seminar

My parents are amateur wine aficionados and as this was pre-kids for me and The Hubs, we were frequent drinkers of wine and loved to learn about it.  One of the neat aspects of the Food and Wine fest is the daily taste and learn events.  The event booklet lists the schedule of tasting events with a brief description of the wine topic—Australian, Blending Wines, Terroir, etc.  The best part—as long as you are already in EPCOT and don’t mind waiting in line (um, hello you are at Disney waiting in lines is what you do!) the events are free!  You get to learn about the topic from the vintner or rep, taste the wine to get a better sense of what they are talking about, and ask questions.  What if you aren’t into wine?  It doesn’t matter—even my brother who is definitely NOT a wine drinker got into the blending lesson and by the end of the day had a case of the sillies along with the rest of the family!

Another fun part of the Food and Wine Fest is the food tasting stations set up around The World Showcase that represent various countries.  Each stall has a small vignette set up with representatives from the host nation to depict some of the familiar and not so familiar aspects of the country.  Additionally, they sell tapas-sized offerings from a menu of regional cuisine, and frequently, there are cooking demonstrations hosted by chefs from the host nation.

One of my particular favorite cooking demonstrations was from the South American country of Peru.  Peru is one location that me and The Hubs have talked about traveling to at some point in our lives to visit the Incan capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu.  The vignette was beautiful, displaying carvings from local artisans as well as amazing alpaca knit wear.  But the cooking demonstration was really pretty great.  I remember that the chef was warm and willing to spend time after the demo to talk to the guests in great detail about his country and his cooking.  He talked about flavor profiles and ingredients used in traditional Peruvian cuisine.  It left an impression on me to this day.

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival

This past weekend, while I was cataloging photos on my computer I came across this photo of the chef doing his demo and it started my mind thinking of the trip and how great his demo was.  Still in need of a lunch for the week, I decided to try my hand at a stew inspired by his discussion about flavors and ingredients he used often in his cooking.  The end result, I think, was pretty spectacular.  Much to The Hubs chagrin, I used sweet potatoes again in the stew (we have been eating a lot of them recently and he isn’t the biggest fan of them—tolerates, yes but enjoy, no).  However, the sweet potatoes gave the stew a sweetness that balanced nicely against the more bitter flavor imparted by the plantains.

Chef at the Peru Pavillion during his cooking demonstration--he was fantastic!

Chef at the Peru Pavillion during his cooking demonstration–he was fantastic!

In looking back at the photos from that trip, I have so many wonderful memories with my family.  I haven’t been back to Disney since that 2007 trip mostly due to pregnancy and having infants.  It just hasn’t been in the cards for us and since Lil One knows about Disney now (and outright adores anything Disney) it is getting a little tough putting her off until we can make it there.  But I really hope that we will make it back again soon for the Food and Wine Festival, and if we do would love to attend and participate in the runDisney event Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon and run in the kids races with Lil One and Mr. Man.  I have heard many wonderful things about the runDisney events and hope that one day to be able to participate in each of them with The Hubs and the kids to create lasting memories that focus around family, fun, and fitness.

Fit Moms & Full Plates:  Peruvian Chicken Stew

Fit Moms & Full Plates: Peruvian Chicken Stew

Peruvian Chicken Stew


  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 2 plantations, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed into 1” pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 6-ounces tomato paste
  • 1-quart chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-teaspoons cumin
  • 2-teaspoons coriander
  • 2-teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ pound Chorizo, ground
  • 4 boneless skinless split chicken breasts, cubed (you can use dark meat if you prefer)
  • 2-tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2-cups chopped kale
  • Coconut oil for sautéing


In a soup pot or Dutch oven heat coconut oil and add carrots, onion, and sweet potatoes sautéing until beginning to brown slightly.  Deglaze the pan thoroughly with a small bit of chicken stock, being sure to scrape up the remaining brown bits that may have adhered to the bottom of the pan.

After deglazing, add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chorizo to the pot and bring to a simmer before adding the remainder of the chicken stock, bringing to a boil.  Add chicken meat and spices, allowing to return to a rolling boil then dropping down to a simmer for 15-minutes.

Add plantains, cilantro, and kale and allow to cook down for another 5-minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This made 10-plentiful servings for the week’s lunches and it is easily frozen once it has been allowed to properly cool.


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