Aji de Gallina
March 19, 2012
This classic Peruvian dish is a constant favorite. The spicy heat of chili peppers combines with peanuts, garlic, and other flavors to produce a delicious, healthy recipe. Its name can be translated to “chili pepper chicken” although that doesn’t truly describe all the flavors found in this tasty meal.
History of Aji de Gallina
The roots of this recipe are said to hail from the years following the French revolution in the late eighteenth century. As the French aristocracy lost their power (and quite often their heads), their chefs had to look elsewhere for work. Many had to travel far and wide to find families who would hire them and some made their way to Peru. In this South American country, French chefs were hired by wealthy families to personally prepare their food. Although they couldn’t find the same ingredients used in many French recipes, as with any trained chef, they used their creative skills in the culinary arts to come up with dishes that blended Peruvian ingredients with French cuisine.
One of the dishes that resulted from this tasty marriage was Aji de Gallina. Local Peruvian peppers were employed along with common French ingredients like garlic, cheese, and olives to create an excellent recipe. The peppers used in Aji de Gallina may also date back much further as the Incas were also known to have a recipe that combined hot, Peruvian peppers with a native gamebird similar to a chicken.
- Four pounds of chicken
- Half a cup of olive oil
- 1 large, chopped onion
- 8 cloves of chopped garlic
- 3 hot peppers
- 1 chicken stock cube
- One fourth of a loaf of bread
- A quarter pound of chopped peanuts
- 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese
- 1 can of evaporated milk
- 3 and a half pounds of boiled rice
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 6 yellow potatoes
- Half a cup of black olives
- Boil the chicken with the stock cube. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the bones and break into small pieces. Put the rest of the chicken stock aside.
- Fry the onion, garlic, and finely chopped chili peppers in olive oil and add salt and pepper.
- Soak the bread in two cups of the remaining chicken stock and place in a blender for two minutes.
- Add this to the onion, garlic, and chili peppers and slowly simmer for ten minutes, stirring to thicken the sauce.
- While the Ají de Gallina is cooking, prepare the rice as you would any rice dish.
- Add the chopped peanuts, grated cheese, and chicken pieces to the sauce and continue to cook until it has a thick, creamy texture. Add the evaporated milk and continue cooking on low heat for five minutes before serving,
- Serve the Aji de Gallina over rice and garnish with halved potatoes, boiled eggs, and black olives.