Ají de gallina | A easy and delicious Creamy Chicken from Peru
When most of us think of Peruvian cuisine, it’s usually the POLLO that we get from the lovely Peruvian chicken stores all over town – roasted with yucca fries and those lovely sauces. We made it in our kitchen and you’ll find that here –
But today we’re doing something a little bit different. Ají de gallina(hen) is a dish that consists of a creamy spicy sauce made of the most interesting set of ingredients. Not the usual when you think Peruvian food - Chicken or hen if previously cooked and then shredded up.
The sauce is lovely with hard aged shredded cheese, walnuts, and bread soaked up in evaporated milk. The heat however comes from aji Amarillo – this lovely hot and smoky yellow pepper paste.
All of this comes together in a lovely creamy and delicious sauce served up with cooked potatoes, white rice, olives, and hard-boiled eggs. So yummy and super easy to make for a quick weeknight dinner.
Ají de gallina
Shopping list -serves 4-6
2-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
Yellow onion, to yield 2 cups roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
Approx. 4 cups water, enough to cover ½” above the level of the chicken
½ cup vegetable oil
Yellow onion, to yield 2 cups finely chopped
½ cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1-2 tbs aji Amarillo chile paste (depending on how hot you can handle)
2 tsp ground turmeric
For the sauce:
4 slices plain white bread
1 qty 12oz. can evaporated milk
1/3 cup shredded hard aged cheese, Parmigiana Reggiano or similar
1/3 cup walnut pieces
Cooked white rice
Boiled golden potatoes, cubed
8 kalamata olives, sliced in half
4 Hard-boiled eggs
Chicken: In a deep pot, add the chicken breasts, roughly chopped onion & garlic in a pan and slowly bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium-low heat until the chicken is tender - approx 20 minutes or so.
Remove chicken to a plate or the bowl of a kitchen aid mixer fitted with a batter blade. This is the quickest way to shred the chicken or allow to cool and shred by hand. Set aside the remaining stock for use as needed.
Bread: Place the bread in a small mixing bowl and soak in the evaporated milk. Set aside until ready to use.
In a food processor bowl, add the cheese and walnuts and process until finely ground. Add the bread, evaporated milk and puree until smooth.
Heat vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, bay leaves and onions with ½ tsp salt for 7-10 minutes until the onion has softened and turned translucent.
Add the turmeric, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste & Aji Amarillochile paste and saute for a few minutes.
Add the shredded chicken and sauté to warm through.
Pour in the puree and keep stirring until thoroughly combined. Add some of the reserved chicken stock if needed to keep from getting too thick.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
For a full meal serve with hard-cooked egg slices, rice, potatoes and kalamata olives.