Peruvian cuisine is a delightful blend of indigenous, European, African, and Asian influences. With its exotic flavors and vibrant colors, it has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years. One dish that stands out among Peruvian delicacies is Aji de Gallina, a rich and creamy chicken stew that is a favorite in Peru and beyond.
Aji de Gallina is a dish that originated in the colonial era when Spanish conquistadors introduced chicken to Peru. The stew is made with shredded chicken, cooked in a sauce made from aji amarillo peppers, milk, bread, and nuts. The resulting dish is a thick and flavorful stew that is both spicy and creamy.
What makes Aji de Gallina so special is its unique combination of flavors. The aji amarillo peppers give the stew its distinctive yellow color and provide a spicy kick, while the milk and bread add a creamy texture and mellow out the heat. The nuts, usually walnuts or pecans, provide a subtle nuttiness that rounds out the flavors and adds depth to the dish.
Aji de Gallina is typically served with boiled potatoes, and white rice, and garnished with black olives and hard-boiled eggs. It is a dish that is both comforting and satisfying, making it a perfect meal for any occasion.
How to Make Aji de Gallina, Peruvian Chicken Stew
Ingredients of Aji de Gallina, Peruvian Chicken Stew
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, bone-in
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 slices of white bread, cubed
- 3/4 cup non-sweetened evaporated milk
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced, divide in half
- 3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 or 4 aji peppers, de-seeded and sliced
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
- 12 Peruvian black olives, pitted and halved
Instructions for Making a Perfect Aji de Gallina, Peruvian Chicken Stew
- Place the bread slices and the evaporated milk in a bowl and set aside.
- If serving with yellow potatoes, put the potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes by at least an inch in a pot. Bring the water to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove the potatoes and set aside.
- Place the chicken, 1/2 the garlic, and carrots in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken by at least an inch. Turn on the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil. Then cover the pan and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the water and set aside to cool. Then strain the water used to cook the chicken, reserving only the water. Pull the chicken apart with fingers or two forks and set aside.
- Blend bread and evaporated milk in a blender with 1/2 cup of reserved chicken broth.
- Add the walnuts and Parmesan cheese to the blender with the bread. Pulse until smooth.
- In a large saucepan, saute the onion and the second half of the garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent. Then add the chicken and aji peppers. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the pureed sauce from the blender to the saucepan with the aji de pollo (chicken and peppers), then simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve warm.
- Garnish the Aji de Gallina with aceitunas botijas (Peruvian black olives) and quartered eggs on top.
- Serve the Aji de Gallina over sliced potatoes or rice or serve the rice or potatoes on the side.
Aji de Gallina, Peruvian Chicken Stew Recipe’s Notes
- Aji de Gallina makes for great leftovers.