Ají de gallina (Peruvian Spicy Chicken Stew)

Happy New Year everyone! We had some light snow yesterday and it stopped but not before covering the sidewalks with a thin layer. I had a strange desire to walk to the grocery store while it was snowing but it was nice and toasty in the apartment and my lazy behind didn’t want to part with the couch. So I started talking to it and coaxing it but alas, it was no use. Then I got antsy and walked the 5 minutes to the store and when I returned, my face was frozen. With this kind of weather, I also feel the need to bake and it is a constant struggle to try and pound that desire out of my head. These are the conversations I have with myself (not out loud, although I do talk to myself often..yikes!) in these tough situations: “Ooohh, what should I bake, Pumpkin and Chocolate Loaf or Tahini Brown Sugar Sesame Rolls? No! Get that thought out of your head this instant! If you bake, you’ll eat and so will the husband and then you will both look like pumpkins! Alright, good point, I must not bake. However, *a minute later* Today is perfect baking weather and there are so many yummy things I can bake and I just need to choose one… Step away from the flour.! Oh shush, one or two pieces will not harm me. Pfffttt..that’s what you think! Sigh… Well, I didn’t bake yesterday but today is a different day but with the same same conversations…

January 6 was Eastern Orthodox Christmas and I went to a house party. My Armenian friend had cooked some really tasty dishes. The little Ms. Piggy that I am, I had three helpings! On my second helping, I was saluted by one of the male guests who promised that he would bow down to me on the third helping. How could I refuse?

On the far right is Armenian green bean and lamb stew. The dish in the red pot next to the green been stew is called Harissa, which is lamb and shelled whole wheat (I have actually never cooked these dishes–shame on me!). It is traditionally made with lamb but you can substitute other meats. The salad to the left of Harissa is her grandmother’s feta and pepper salad. Very tasty! Humus in the small plates.
On the left are store bought and yummy cheese, and spinach pies and vegetarian kebbe. Kebbe is normally filled with cracked wheat, onions and finely ground beef or lamb. This one had chickpeas and I believe nuts and it was pretty good. I prefer the met filling 🙂 My mom also adds pine nuts. The colorful salad on to the right is eggplant salad. I love eggplant! My favorite is the deep red spread, which is called Muhammarah. It is a spicy red pepper paste made with walnuts. It is delicious on bread with sliced turkey or as is. You can basically eat it with anything, The small bowl to the left of the salad is tzatziki and the bowl to the right is a spicy bean salad.
On the left are the baked brownies I baked (everyone loves these!), Baklava and Namoura, which is a semolina cake with syrup. The dessert in the foil pan is banana pudding with crushed cookies on top. This pudding was amazing! It was so thick and creamy. I did not try the cake on the far right as I was stuffed like a pepper 🙂

For New Year’s Eve dinner I wanted to try something new and so I made this spicy Peruvian chicken stew. I found out about this dish from an Uber driver. What happens is I start asking or guessing where the person is from and then we get into this whole conversation about food. At the end of the ride, we are both very hungry! I’m not going to lie–this dish was not a quick one (I had not made it before), but it was definitely worth the close to 3 hours and the effort. I did make my homemade chicken stock for the first time and now I’m hooked!

Chicken broth ingredients
The recipe called for an onion, carrots, a celery stick, ginger, and parsley. I added 4 bay leaves.
broth ingredients
Quarter the onion, chop the carrots and celery and slice the ginger. Add the parsley as is. I cut off the stems a bit.
I used (all skin on and bone in) 1 chicken breast, 2 chicken legs, and 2 chicken thighs. I removed some of the chicken fat. Place the chicken in a 6 quart Dutch oven or a big pot.
To the pot of chicken, add 10 cups of water and 5 tsp of salt, and the onion, ginger, parsley, celery and bay leaves (if you wish). I added extra celery and carrot sticks. Bring to a boil and then simmer, partially covered, for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
Cooked chicken
When the 50 minutes are up and the chicken is cooked through, remove the pieces and set aside. Strain.
Chicken stew ingredients
For the chicken stew you will need the following ingredients: 4 to 6 small to medium Yukon gold potatoes (depending on number of people. I made extra to have for another day), milk (I used whole), canola oil, parsley, 5 garlic cloves, one yellow onion, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, cumin, oregano, turmeric and Aji Amarillo (yellow hot pepper paste). Bread (not shown). I used sourdough.
Aji Amarillo
This is a lovely, spicy, yellow pepper paste. I bought it online from Amigo Foods (much cheaper than Amazon).
Shredded chicken
Once the chicken has cooled a little, remove the skin and bone and shred it.
Chicken stock
I don’t have a picture of the next part as my husband was helping and I was busy shredding so I could not take pictures 😉 Measure 1 1/2 cups of the glorious chicken stock and place in a medium bowl. Cut 2 slices of bread (I used 3) and throw into the stock. Mash with a fork until it is puree like.
Dice the yellow onion, mince the garlic, chop the parsley, and grind the walnuts using a mortar and pestle. Make the sofrito–saute the onion and garlic with some canola oil on medium high heat until translucent. Add 3 tsp of the aji amarillo (after I tasted it, I found it was not spicy enough so I added 1 or 2 tsp more), 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp of oregano and 1/4 tsp turmeric, some salt and pepper. Don’t add too much salt as the chicken stock has enough. Saute for a few minutes until it is mixed well.
Chicken stew
Add 1 tbsp of chopped parsley and the bread puree but not the extra stock. Mine had soaked up all the chicken stock.
chicken stew
Reduce heat and cook until it starts to simmer. Once you see it simmering, add 3 cups of chicken stock and cook until it simmers again. Now add the shredded chicken. Stir from time to time and let it simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes until the stew thickens. About 25-30 minutes before the dish will be done, boil some potatoes. Hard boil as many eggs as you like or omit if you wish to eat without. After 45 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and add 1/4 cup of ground walnuts, 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix well. You are done!
Chicken stew
I guarantee you will fall in love with this dish 🙂
Aji de Gallina
Prepare your plate by slicing a potato and then pouring the chicken stew on top. Place half an egg on the stew and a couple of olives and garnish with parsley. How gorgeous does this dish look?! It tastes really amazing and even better a few days later 🙂
Peruvian chicken stew
Of course I made a lot and we were happily eating it until it was done. For a change, I made some long grain white rice. The rice soaks up the stew and is lip smacking good!

Recipe taken from: Peru this week.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. This is one of my comfort food favorites! My husband has made it for me for both Mother’s Day and my birthday in the past- yours looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marale says:

      I know, right! Perfect comfort food 🙂 Thank you!


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