Today I decided to try making this typical Peruvian dish. I’ve had it before in restaurants, and always wanted to try making it. After researching some recipes, and finding dried Aji Amarillo (not an easy task – I finally found it at Rainbow Grocery. I’ve heard it’s also available at some Latin markets in the Mission) this is what I came up with. It turned out well, although I didn’t add enough of the Aji Amarillo, as I was worried I’d make it too spicy… but bring on the heat! It was very mild, and I’ll be adding more spice to my leftovers.
Aji de Gallina
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
about 6 slices of white bread
1 cup milk
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
2-3 tbsp jarred Aji Amarillo, or 3 whole dried Aji Amarillo
1 tbsp tumeric
¼ cup walnuts
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
4 hard boiled eggs
4 boiled potatoes
- Make a chicken stock using whole chicken and gizzards. (Place chicken, carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a large pot of water – bring to a boil – reduce to simmer – cook for about 45 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the top)
- While chicken cooks, soak bread in milk.
- Meanwhile, sauté diced onion with a little salt in olive oil in a large pot till soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and tumeric and cook for another minute. Add the soaked bread and Aji Amarillo and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a blender, add walnuts, and blend till smooth (you may need to add some of the stock).
- Return to pot.
- Strain chicken, reserving stock. Discard vegetables and shred chicken.
- Add chicken and about 4 cups of the stock to the pot.
- Add Parmigiano, season with salt and pepper, and heat through.
- Serve with quartered potatoes, quartered eggs, and white rice.