March 20, 2012

Ají De Gallina: Peruvian Chicken with Chile & Cheese

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will know that I have made this dish before, using Cesar's recipe (or a modestly adapted version thereof).

This time, I was moved to streamline the recipe a little more, at least partly due to the fact that I had two whole chicken legs' worth of meat (leftover from a roasted chicken) waiting in the fridge to be turned into something tasty, and had actually made a nice stock out of the bones. I also had a jar of ají amarillo sauce lurking in the fridge, and some ground almonds in the freezer. When I realized that I had pretty much everything that I needed for the dish on hand, I sprang into action. I note that I used Portuguese buns because they were the only plain white bread we had in the house, but they worked beautifully.

Ají De Gallina

Serves: 4
Total Prep & Cooking time: 45 minutes

2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup 1% milk (or skim)
1 1/2 Portuguese buns (or three slices of bread)
3 tablespoons aji amarillo sauce
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon chicken fat
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste

Tear the buns or bread into pieces, soak in the milk for about half hour, then puree. I soaked the bread right in the mini-prep bowl, fitted with the metal blade, to minimize mess. If you are serving this traditionally, with plain rice and/or potatoes, you probably want to get them started now, along with the hard boiled eggs for garnish.

While the bread soaks, prepare the rest: shred the chicken into long threads, and set aside, and chop the onions and garlic.

Heat the chicken fat (or olive oil) in a skillet and add the minced garlic and onion. After 2-3 minutes add the ají sauce, and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring. Add the blended bread, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper.

Little by little, pour in one cup of broth, still stirring. If the mix is too thick, add more broth (or hot water). Cook for a few more minutes, always stirring.

Add the chicken threads, parmesan and ground almonds, and stir well. Remove the skillet from the heat for a few minutes before serving, so the flavours integrate.

Serve with white rice and potato slices. Decorate with hard-boiled egg wedges and olives.

I should note that the kind of olives that should be served here would be closer to California Mission olives, or Mexican black olives, than the kalamatas shown here. *shrug* I like kalamatas better, and I had them on hand. Radishes also make a lovely garnish. We also had some red bell pepper strips, just to give us a little more vegetable in our dinner. Leftovers re-heated well for lunch, which was also a bonus.

This version is fairly potent - if you want a milder hit of the chile flavour, use 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce, instead of 3.


kickpleat said...

Wow, this sounds really interesting! Bread, ground almonds....I'm very curious.

Dawna said...

It's a little bit like a curry, texturally speaking, but the flavours are pure Andes. Do give it a try!

Jenna said...

I am so interested to try this recipe. May I share it on my blog as well?

Dawna said...

Hi Jenna, I hope you do try the recipe! It's delicious and unique. Please credit the recipe and provide a link to this post if you choose to share it on your blog. Thanks for stopping by!