Aji de GallinaOne of the handiest recipes I have collected in Peru is Aji de Gallina. Its a nice little dish that is perfect for making the most of your cooking. It uses pulled boiled chicken meat so now this is a key part of my stock making weekends.
I now buy as oversized a chicken as I can - go for five pounds or more - and I start by cutting out the breasts of the bird to make, say, Chicken and Broccoli Pasta. I then cook the stock and remove the chicken and put it immediately in the fridge. I finish making the stock (which, obviously, you can then use in these other dishes) and get it put away. I then pick the meat off the cooked chicken and, the next day, make this dish.
Soak bread in the chicken stock for 15 minutes or so. Blend bread and its soaking liquid to form a thick creamy paste. Set aside.
In a large heavy-based pan, heat oil and saute onion and garlic over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, aji amarillo paste, aji mirasol paste, salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add bread mixture to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. If necessary add more chicken stock to keep the dish moist and juicy. Stir through chicken pieces, Parmesan cheese and nuts (reserve some chopped nuts for garnish). Cook for 2 more minutes. Just before serving, add evaporated milk and warm through, taking care to ensure that the mixture does not boil.
Serve hot accompanied by rice and boiled potatoes. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped nuts, hard-boiled egg slices and black olives.
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