When making my "prívate oppinion pull" about the favorites of Peruvian Creole Cuisine this dish made it always on the top ten list: Ajii de Gallina which doesn't have an exact translation but is best described as Chicken in Spicy Nut Sauce.
Present in every celebration and family meeting this classic has conquered the palates of even the most sceptic foodies.
The preparation of the recipe takes a bit of time and patience ( remember it was created in colonial times when every well to do family had a lot of helping hands in the kitchen) but it' s for sure worth while the effort and you will be well rewarded by its wonderful flavor.
3 complete chicken breasts (the original recipe calls for 1 hen or chicken but I prefer chicken breasts as they are lighter and not so messy to prepare)
2 celery stalks
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 packet of sliced toast bread
1-2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoon ground fresh yellow chili (aji amarillo)
1 1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
8 black olives for decoration
3 hard boiled eggs for decoration
3 spoonful chopped parsley for decoration
1 kg yellow (or other) boiled potatoes (optional)
Salt and pepper
In a large pan bring chicken breasts ,celery,carrot and a 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil and cook until tender.
Let cool down, then remove and shred the chicken into medium bite size pieces.
In a large pan heat oil , sauté onion until soft and translucent.
Add garlic stir well and finally add the ground yellow chili.
Mix well until all ingredients have blend in well.
Place the bread slices in a large glass recipient, pour the milk over the bread wait until bread has nearly soaked the liquid.
Mix in blender to obtain a creamy consistency.
Add the bread mixture to the onion- chili mixture,
add gradually 1 cup of chicken stock and cook for about 5 minutes (stirring constantly) or until obtaining a creamy consistency.
If necessary stir in some more chicken stock. Add a tablespoon of oil, stirring the mixture constantly.
Finally add the shred chicken, mix well
then add shredded Parmesan and chopped walnuts.
Let simmer for some minutes stirring gently (be careful not to smash the chicken) until all ingredients have blend in well.
Extra tip: This creole dish is delicious but I'm not crazy about the color, so I often add some Palillo a yellow spice that is similar to Curcuma and adds a wonderful color touch. As I prepared the classic version, no Palillo or Curcuma has been added when taking the pictures.
Pour over the sliced potatoes (optional). I prefer this dish without potatoes but the classic recipe calls for it.
Decorate with hard boiled eggs divided into four, and black olives. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Serve with rice.
Enjoy! Serves 6-8 P.
See you next week.
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