Making Ají de Gallina

Aji de Gallina is one of Peru’s classic dishes made from the famous brightly colored aji amarillo peppers. Although they are called yellow peppers, they are usually more orange than yellow. The spicy creamed chicken dish is traditionally served over rice with potatoes and garnished with a few black olives and slices of hard-boiled egg.

For those who can’t find aji amarillo peppers locally, you could substitute any hot peppers and use a yellow bell pepper to maintain the yellow color of the dish. Or you may be able to find aji amarillo paste in a local shop.

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 4 slices of white bread (or 2 or 3 packages of soda crackers)
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast
  • 3 or 4 yellow aji peppers
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts (chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 10 black olived (halved)
Aji-de-Gallina
©iStock.com/ruidoblanco

Preparation

  1. Place the four slices of bread (or soda crackers) in a bowl and cover with the evaporated milk. Set aside.
  2. Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender.
  3. Cool, peel, cut into quarters and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken in a pot, cover with water or chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is barely cooked.
  5. Strain broth and set it aside. You will need at least 1 ½ to 2 cups for later.
  6. Pull the chicken apart into bite-sized pieces with a couple of forks and set aside.
  7. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and chop into slices or smaller pieces.
  8. Add the vegetable oil and peppers to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  9. Sauté the pureed peppers with the garlic and onions until the onions are soft.
  10. Remove from heat and set aside.
  11. In a blender or food processor, process the evaporated milk, bread, nuts, and Parmesan cheese until smooth.
  12. Add the cooked yellow pepper mixture and process until smooth.
  13. Return the processed mixture back to the pan and add 1 ½ cups of reserved chicken stock.
  14. Bring to a low simmer and add the chicken. Heat until the mixture reaches a nice serving temperature. Add more chicken stock if the sauce is too thick.
  15. Serve over rice and garnish with potatoes, black olives, and slices of hard-boiled egg.

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