Aji de Galina. Peru. (Photo credit: chef Miguel Morales)

About 10 years ago, when I started cooking dishes from around the world, this Aji de Galina dish was one of the first dishes that I cooked, after Chinese and Thai yummy foods. Why starting with Peru, would you ask? Well, my dear friend Amandine was travelling the world solo at that time, and happened to pick Peru at some point. South-America was not on my bucket list at all, and I remember that I wondered what was out there that would be so appealing for her to go and travel so far from home – beside the famous Macchu Picchu obviously.

She came back home with tons of photographs, including lots of portraits of Peruvian mountaineers, and amazing landscapes. The Andes are running all across Peru, which makes the country’s landlines quite wavy and bumpy, and makes up for beautiful sights to all visitors, it seems.

I wonder why this Peruvian recipe never came back to my plate until today, thus never made it to my blog either. Maybe because I never was proud of what the dish looked like on my plate, especially when one knows we start eating with our eyes…

P1060140

Amandine and I went out for drinks and dinner last night, and I woke up this morning with the idea of cooking that dish. As I am learning from the best, chef Martin Morales from Ceviche (NYC) and Andina (London), has provided his recipe, that I slightly adapted. I replaced the pecans by walnuts, cream crackers by crushed biscotti (though not traditional either, but available in my pantry) and Parmesan by breadcrumbs, as none of the three ingredients are part of the Peruvian traditional cuisine but more of an upgrade from the Chef for a further gourmet recipe). Nonetheless, it is quite tasty, healthy and more local. The Chef reinvented the plating of this messy dish and turned it here into a scrumptious version of itself. Buon Apetito!

 

Photo-Paul-Winch-Furness-Chef Martin Morales
Photo Paul Winch Furness – Chef Martin Morales

INGREDIENTS

  • For the chicken meat:
    1kg chicken, preferably jointed, but 4 chicken breasts are just fine
    1 carrot, chopped
    1 white onion, chopped
    1 branch of celery, chopped
    1 garlic clove, chopped
    3 cups boiling water
  • For the sauce:
    60g finely chopped white onion
    25g garlic
    2 yellow peppers, finely chopped
    Olive oil
    250 ml chicken stock
    4 walnuts, grated
    1 tbsp cumin
    250 g of crushed biscotti
    2 tins evaporated milk
    100g finely grounded breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a pan with the water, onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Bring to a boil and then simmer on high heat for 40 minutes. Checking that it’s cooked, remove, cool, and shred the meat into strips or keep it as a whole if you are using chicken breasts.
  2. Sieve the stock and keep for later use.
  3. Saute the onion, garlic, yellow bell pepper and chillies in some olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat until they start to colour. Add the chicken stock, walnuts and cumin and gently cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Soak the biscotti in the evaporated milk and blend. Add this mixture to the pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and breadcrumbs and gently cook for 3 minutes.
  6. In true Peruvian tradition, serve each portion with white rice, some new potatoes, half a boiled egg, some crushed walnuts and a large black olive.

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2020 All Rights Reserved.

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