Cookbook:Ají de Gallina
|Ají de Gallina|
|Time||45 mins approx|
Ají de Gallina (Spanish for chili pepper chicken) is a traditional Peruvian dish which has its roots in the social upheaval of the French Revolution in 1789.
Chefs working for wealthy families lost their jobs after French aristocrats were imprisoned and executed. Some of these chefs travelled to the New World, including Peru, bringing with them French culinary expertise. Wealthy Peruvian creole families hired them to demonstrate their wealth to the ruling Spaniards. The fusion of local cuisines with French cooking traditions led to many new recipes, including ají de gallina.
This is a shredded chicken dish in a spicy sauce flavored with cheese, garlic, nuts and Peruvian chili peppers. Peruvians love eating this dish on cold days.
The dish is often referred to as ají de hen when it is prepared with frayed chicken breasts — especially nowadays in which, unlike egg hens raised traditionally on farm lots, the poultry industry breeds caged birds for meat within three months.
- 1300 g (4 lb) chicken
- 120 ml (½ cup) of olive oil
- 1 large finely chopped onion
- 8 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 hot yellow South American chilis (seeds and filaments removed): Adjust quantity for individual taste.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 chicken stock cube
- ¼ loaf of bread
- 110 g (¼ lb) of chopped pecans
- 110 g (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1.6 kg (3.5 lbs) boiled rice (flavored with chopped garlic and salt)
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 6 potatoes
- 120 g (½ cup) black olives
- Boil chicken in salted water together with the stock cube. Remove bones and break into bite size pieces, keeping the resulting chicken stock.
- In a saucepan, heat oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and finely chopped chili peppers and add salt and pepper. Fry this until the onions are cooked and golden.
- Soak the bread in two cups of the stock from the boiled chicken and place in a blender for a couple of minutes and then add the resulting liquid to the saucepan.
- Cook slowly for ten minutes. Cook slowly, stirring to thicken.
- While the Ají de Gallina is cooking slowly, boil the rice: first fry the garlic for a couple of seconds, then add the rice and the salt, then add the water. When the water starts to boil, let the rice cook in a closed pot very slowly for about 20 minutes or until the water has completely evaporated (hint: to cook "peruvian" rice: cook a cup of rice in two cups of water)
- Back to the Ají de Gallina: add the chopped pecans, grated cheese, and chicken pieces. Cook until it has a thick creamy texture. About five minutes before serving, add the evaporated milk and continue cooking on low heat.
- Serve over the boiled rice and garnish with halved potatoes, eggs quartered lengthwise, and olives.