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Peruvian Aji de Gallina

Chef's Corner logoWe once had a quaint little Peruvian restaurant downtown Quepos where this became my favorite chicken dish.

It is creamy and spicy with an unusual mix of walnuts, Parmesan, and these orange “aji” peppers that can be found in produce markets from time to time. I have also found this “Ajinka” sauce that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, enjoys collecting hot sauces.

Aji peppers and ajinka sauceFor 8 portions

  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 large whole boneless chicken breasts (4 halves)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 slices of stale baguette (about 1/2 inch slices) or a similar bread
  • 3 to 4 aji peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of walnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 black olives, chopped (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 can or 1/2 cup of evaporated milk

Completed dishDirections

  1. Boil potatoes and eggs until cooked. Peel and set aside.
  2. Boil chicken breasts in chicken broth and strain when fully cooked while reserving the stock. Let cool before shredding all of the meat.
  3. Cook the aromatics: onions, garlic, aji peppers in the oilve oil until very fragrant, and then allow to cool. 
    Meanwhile, soak the bread slices in the evaporated milk.
  4. Place cooked aromatics, leftover stock, bread with milk, and walnuts in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
    Return to pan and bring to a slow boil. Stir in the shredded chicken; adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper (I prefer white).
  5. Aji de gallina is usually served with a couple wedges of boiled potatoes, a couple wedges of hard boiled eggs, steamed rice and black olives.

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