Classic Peruvian: Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina

sliced chicken breast plus shredded chicken meat
a creamy aji pepper sauce
white rice/ boiled potatoes
alphonso olives/ hard boiled quail eggs/ walnuts/ grated parmesan


the classic peruvian chicken dish, aji de gallina
alphonso olives/ the national drink, the pisco sour/ alfajores cookies/
hot condiments – aji amarillo paste, thinly sliced marinated aji peppers, and rocoto paste

On the Table

Taste With The Eyes is all about hospitality. Cooking for family and friends brings me great joy, but the food is only one dimension of entertaining. The ambience is equally important, so here I present Aji de Gallina on a pretty table with Peruvian wares, candles, roses and fresh herbs, and iconic Peruvian foods & drink.

Pottery
This adorable Peruvian vessel always reminds me of my darling little pooch, Mrs. O’Mally.

Mrs. O’Mally
November 28, 1998 – October 22, 2008
Can you see the resemblance?
Mally’s story here.

Alfajores
Peruvian Cookies
Flour, butter, milk, sugar, salt.
The incredible soft, light texture melts in your mouth.
They are filled with dulce de leche and dusted with powdered sugar.

Alfonso Olives
Aceituna de Botija
Brine-cured ripe purple olives grown in Peru.


Roses from my Garden
bright red/ wildfire hybrid tea
white/ fabulous floribunda
yellow/ honey perfume floribunda
light apricot/ nancy reagan hybrid tea


Pisco
Pisco is a brandy made from the Peruvian quebranta grape.
Pisco Sour ingredients: Brandy, key lime juice, sugar, egg white, and a dash of bitters.

Textiles
Ten years ago, high in the Andes, I purchased
the lovely the piece of woven art that graces my table today.

How to Prepare Aji de Gallina

Cover a whole chicken (cut-up) with cold water. Add rough chopped onion, celery, and carrot to the pot. Add 2 bay leaves and about a half teaspoon of whole peppercorns, and a good amount of salt. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Strain the broth, and reserve.

Cook whole potatoes with skin on until tender. Also cook a batch of white rice.

Aji amarillo paste & whole peppers, alphonso olives, and rocoto paste from the local Latin market.

Saute diced red onion in vegetable oil. When the onion is soft, add chopped garlic.
After a minute add aji amarillo paste. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
Add a teaspoon of dried oregano and a half teaspoon of ground cumin.


Cut the crust off 3 slices of white bread then add milk and mash with a fork until the bread dissolves.
Add the creamy bread mixture to the pan and cook for another couple minutes.

Add chopped walnuts and grated Parmesan to the sauce.
Add chicken stock to thin the sauce if necessary.

Peel hard boiled quail eggs.

The eggs were simmered in hot water with vinegar for 5 minutes.


When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin. Shred all the chicken meat except the breasts. Slice the breasts on an angle. To plate, take half of a sliced breast plus shredded chicken and fan around a tower of rice. Arrange sliced peeled potatoes on the plate.


Ladle aji sauce over chicken and potatoes. Serve extra sauce on the side. Garnish with hard boiled quail eggs, pitted/sliced alphonso olives, and walnuts. Finish with fresh grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. This dish is cooked in the authentic manner, using authentic ingredients. You may have seen aji de gallina smothered in sauce. Here, I chose to serve a more elegant presentation, and serve additional sauce on the side. The sauce is the star! The hot yet fruity aji amarillo pepper in a creamy sauce with Parmesan and walnuts is a classic example of Peruvian fusion. And if the sauce isn’t hot enough for your taste, I’m serving hot condiments on the side too!

I fell in love with the cuisine of Peru on a trip there a decade ago. Gary and I went to tour Machu Picchu and Cuzco, but we were blown away by the food, truly a fusion of ethnic cuisines. From the ceviche, tiraditos, and anticuchos, to the myriad of hot peppers, to the thousands of potato varieties – Peruvian food is exciting, varied, and extremely flavorful. I thank Project Food Blog and the folks at Foodbuzz for the challenge to prepare this classic dish!

Project Food Blog


Competition Overview

  • Project Food Blog is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands of Foodbuzz Featured Publishers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to advance and a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on Foodbuzz.com for one year.
  • Voting for entries on the first challenge will kick off September 20th, and contestants will be whittled down over the next 12 weeks via exciting challenges related to food blogging.
  • Entries are voted on by Foodbuzz Featured Publisher peers and rated by our panel of judges including: Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE Magazine; Nancy Silverton, Founder La Brea Bakery, Co-owner Mozza; Pim Techamuanvivit, Author of ChezPim.com and The Foodie Handbook
  • Winners advance to the next challenge, including one lucky Reader’s Choice winner who earns auto advancement to the next challenge (solely based on Reader votes; not applicable in the final round).
  • Join the fun! Follow Project Food Blog for contest updates and help us discover the next Food Blog Star!

(from Foodbuzz.com here)

Challenge #2: The Classics

Challenge Prompt from Foodbuzz: Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.


UPDATE:
Votes may be cast now through Sept. 30th by clicking on the header button “Vote For This Entry” next to the red heart,
here!

42 thoughts on “Classic Peruvian: Aji de Gallina”

  1. Lori Lynn, this is gorgeous! I have never seen a dish like this. It’s so different with such special flavors. Those quail eggs are precious…actually, what’s precious is your little pooch. What a doll! I love the way you set the table, the play-by-play- everything! You’ve got my vote, girl!

  2. It’s precisely the acute attention to detail that keeps me gazing at your blog over and over again. You have sparked my interest in Peruvian food. And you know I’m voting for you…

  3. This is a certain classic to remain, I love the quail eggs, and I am ready to munch on a plate of this for lunch now. Alas, I will have to submit to a lesser meal at the moment.

    Bon appetit!
    CCR
    =:~)

  4. Wow your food just looks BEYOND incredible. We have a wonderful Peruvian restaurant in Portland that I have yet to try and your entry just reminded me of that! I’ve had Peruvian food before while living in Florida and it’s soooo good. I especially love alfajores! YUM! Great job with the 2nd challenge. I’m sending a vote your way and I’ll definitely be reading your blog frequently from now on! 🙂

  5. I too have never tried Peruvian food before. Your posts are always so beautiful to look at … hence the name of your site of course!! And the dishes you prepare sound and look so intricate and yet your way of describing the execution makes everything seem “doable.” Good luck with the contest … you deserve the win!

  6. After my husband returned from a business trip to Peru, he raved about Aji de Gallina. Now, it’s one of our favorite meals! Congratulations on moving forward in Project Food Blog. Just voted!

  7. Wow Lori! This is truly spectacular and elegant! I’ve not had too much exposure to Peruvian food, but I know that potatoes are an important part of Peru’s diet. This was a wonderful introduction to their cuisine! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do for the luxury dinner.

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