Ají de Gallina (Chilli Chicken)

Difficulty 2.5/5

You have the good fortune of having in your hands (eyes? screen?) my mom’s recipe of “Ají de Gallina” or chicken chilli, which is a peruvian dish similar to a stew, served with potatoes, rice, hard-boiled eggs and olives. It is my absolute favourite peruvian dish, and every time I go home I ask my mom to make it. It is filled with flavour, it has a tinge of spicy and is a real heart warmer. This recipe is quite large because I made it for a dinner at home, so just divide the quantities :). Hope you enjoy it!

Portions: 12

Ingredients:IMG_8213

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– 3 celery stalks
– 3 carrots
– 4 tbsp vegetable oil
– 3 bay leaves
– 1.5kg chicken breasts (in my case, breasts of 2 chicken)
– 2 small red onions, finely squared
– 1 garlic clove, grinded in a mortar to release its flavours
– 20g powder or paste of panca chilli, I found it at amazon in powder form
– 20 slices of plain, white loaf bread
yellow peruvian chilli: here you have several options depending on what you can get your hands on. Ideally, you’ll find them fresh. If you do, you need to open them up, take the seeds and veins they are attached to away (and with it, their hotness) and boil them for around a minute. Then blend them into a paste. If you get them fresh, use 4 of them. The other option you have is to get a paste, which is what I could find. The problem with the paste is that sometimes they can be really spicy because they blend them with seeds and all. It helps to boil it with a cup of water until it reduces again, but bare in mind that you might need more evaporated milk and parmesan cheese than what I put in this recipe to reduce your hotness.
– 3 cups evaporated milk
– 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1kg rice
– 6 potatoes (one every 2 persons)
– 6 eggs (one every 2 persons)
– Olives to garnish (ideally purple, if not, black)

Preparation:

1. First we’ll make the rice. Peruvian rice has the particularity of having a small quantity of garlic in it, so it smells and tastes soooo good! So take have of the garlic you ground and add it to a pot with hot oil and cook it for a bit.
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2. Then add the rice, and if it’s pre-cooked, just add water. Otherwise, cook it a bit with the oil until it turns from transparent to white (not toasted), and then add the water. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to minimum, close it with a lid and wait for it to cook. When it looks like the photo below, add salt and pepper to taste.
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3. When its done, it will look like this:
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4. Now, let’s start with the ají de gallina. First, you need to cook the chicken. Put inside a large pot the the celery, carrots and bay leaves, and lots of water. Put it to boil and then add the chicken breasts
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5. Cook it just enough, it can even be a bit undercooked because then it’s going back to the stew and finish cooking. But if you over cook it, it will be quite stiff in the stew. When it’s done, take the chicken out of the water and DO NOT throw the water away, we’ll use it next.
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6. Pull the chicken with two forks to have shreds of it, and put it aside for further use.
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7. While the chicken is cooking, you can start with the bread. You need to toast the slices of bread and remove the crust.
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8. Now we’ll use the stock we made before. Remove the celery and carrot, and pour the water onto the bread until it is really moist and soggy (the contrary of what you want in a sandwich, right?). Put it inside a blender:
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9. Blend until you have something really smooth
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10. Now we’ll do our onions. Put them in a pot at medium heat with 4 tbsp of water so they sweat and its intensity is somewhat reduced but not lost.
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11. When the water is evaporated, put the onions aside inside the pot, and add the oil on the other side, so it heats up.
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12. Cook the onions until golden, then add both chillis and cook until the oil starts to separate from the mix:
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13. Add the blended bread and cook until it boils
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14. Add the evaporated milk and parmesan and let cook for about half an our with the lid closed, and the colour will deepen.
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15. The last thing you do while the stew boils, is cook the hard boiled eggs and the potatoes in hot water for the plating
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16. Now plate! Put a couple slices of the potatoes on the plate and the the ají de gallina on top. Then, some rice on the side and garnish with the egg and olives.

Voilà!! Serve pretty and enjoy!

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Published by

Chef Lorena

Hello! My name is Lorena Salinas and I’m a chef. I absolutely love to cook and eat. Discovering new techniques, styles and ways to apply it to things that I already know gets me really excited. I really look forward to seeing people cook my recipes or even make them better than I originally did. Welcome to my food world! For info and collaborations e-mail cravingsjournal@gmail.com

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