Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Chicken)

Ají de Gallina is a classic Peruvian dish — slightly spicy and bright yellow from the aji amarillo peppers and rich from an unusual cream sauce made with ground walnuts. This dish is traditionally served over rice or boiled yellow potatoes and garnished with black olives.

INGREDIENTS


Poached Chicken:

  • 2 lbs. Skinless, Bone-In Chicken Breast Halves
  • 1 Onion, Coarsely Chopped
  • 2 Carrots, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 2 qt. water

Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Loaf White Bread, Crusts Removed and Cubed
  • 1 12 oz. Can Evaporated Milk
  • ½ C. Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • ¼ C. Walnuts, Chopped

Finishing Touches

DIRECTIONS


Poached Chicken:

  1. Place chicken breasts, onion, carrot, and garlic in a large saucepan or soup pot.
  2. Cover with 2 quarts of water and slowly bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Skim off and discard the foam which forms on the surface of the water, then cover the pot, reducing heat to medium-low, simmering until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove chicken to a plate, allowing it to cool. Once cool, shred the cooled chicken, discarding the bones.
  4. Strain and reserve the chicken stock through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vegetables.

Cream Sauce:

  1. Pour evaporated milk and ½ cup chicken stock into the bowl of a blender or food processor with the puree blade in place.
  2. Add bread cubes and puree mixture until smooth.
  3. Add Parmesan cheese and walnuts to the bread mixture; puree again until mixture is smooth.

Assembling the Dish:

  1. Using a broad heavy skillet or large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the minced garlic and minced onion; cook until the onion has softened considerably and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the shredded chicken and aji amarillo chile, and stir intermittently, warming the chicken.
  4. Add the cream sauce, tossing with the chicken to thoroughly coat, and cook the mixture until hot, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking to the pan. Add more chicken stock if needed to keep from getting too thick.
  5. Season to taste with turmeric and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  6. Serve over rice or roasted baby potatoes, garnished with hard-cooked egg slices and sprinkled with kalamata olives and Peruvian chile-citrus sea salt.

 

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