Aji de Gallina: Peruvian Yellow Spicy Creamy Chicken
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Aji de gallina is a delicious Peruvian classic — slightly spicy and bright yellow from the famous aji amarillo peppers, and rich from the unusual cream sauce made with ground walnuts. A bit like a curry, this is a family favourite all over Peru and Chile can be added to match. This dish is traditionally served over rice with boiled yellow potatoes and black olives. It also goes fantastically with pasta, or even baked in a pie or traditional empanada. You can grab frozen yellow aji peppers (they often look more orange than yellow) at Latin food markets – and occasionally in the supermarket. You can also find jarred aji amarillo paste from time to time, which works well too. A true taste of South America and pretty easy to prepare!
- 4 yellow potatoes (white potato can work also)
- 4 slices of white bread
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 700gms chicken breast
- 4 cups chicken stock – Fresh is best!
- 3 to 4 yellow aji peppers
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons walnuts (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 10 black olives (halved and optional)
- Gather the ingredients.
- Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Let cool, peel, then cut into quarters, and set aside.
- Place the bread in a small bowl and pour the evaporated milk over it to soak. Set aside.
- Place the chicken breasts in a pot with the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is just barely cooked through.
- Set chicken aside to cool whilst continuing preparations.
- Strain broth and put aside 2 cups.
- Remove stems and seeds from the peppers (if using fresh peppers).
- In a blender, process peppers with the vegetable oil until smooth.
- Sauté the garlic and onions with the puréed peppers and oil until the onions are soft and golden.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Shred the cooled chicken into bite-size pieces.
- In a blender or food processor, process the evaporated milk and bread mixture with the nuts and Parmesan cheese until it becomes a smooth sauce.
- Add the cooked onion mixture to the processed mix and process briefly.
- Return onion mixture to the pan, and add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken stock.
- Bring to a low simmer, and stir in the chicken. Heat until warmed through, adding more chicken stock if the sauce is too thick.
- Serve over rice, garnished with the yellow potatoes, slices of hard-boiled egg and black olives… or add to pasta or a pie!