jueves, 25 de julio de 2013

Ají de gallina or ají de pollo (A sort of Peruvian curry having hen as the main ingredient but nowadays is commonly prepared with chicken)

This is a recipe as oldie as Lima itself. Dear reader, I wonder if has happened to you that when enjoying an ají de gallina, have you ever bitten a not well-cooked onion.  The sensation is disgusting and even insulting. How to avoid it? I present the above recipe and a couple of tips.

½  skinless chicken breast
½ Onion chopped in mirepoix ( Mirepoix is a cutting technique which means  cut in big dices , 2mm approximately )
1 carrot chopped in mirepoix
1 branch of celery cutting into 3 cm. long
1 basil leave
1 garlic clove
1 grain of whole pepper (or one pinch of ground pepper)

1 onion julienne chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
½ cup of yellow chili (ají Amarillo)
1 table spoon of aji panca paste (smoked paprika can be used instead)

4 breads (preferably corn bread)
1 cup of fresh milk
1 ½ cup of the stock obtained
½ cup of chopped pecans

4 deseeded olives
2 boiled egg in halves
4 potatoes boiled and pealed
Parsley finely chopped
Parmesan cheese

There are many cooking method to do this, I am bringing here my own. First of all we need to prepare the stock.  In a sauce pan put water and add all the stock ingredients. When it stars boiling reduce the heat, do this in order to avoid the formation of dark foam that would bring a dark colour to the stock add a pinch of salt. Leave it cooking  for one hour.  When ready take the chicken breast away and reserve it.  Strain the boiled mix and reserve the stock obtained.

Shred breast chicken, but not too small pieces. The idea is notice the chicken when you are having it. Set aside.

In a bowl, add the bread shredded and soak into the chicken stock. ( A good  quality of corn bread is that it is easily melted into the mix)

The dressing;  set low heat to fry onion and garlic for around 20 minutes until they start caramelising and turning lightly brown. Set aside to cool down and then blend them. Once they are blended , return them to a pan with hot oil and add the chili.  Move until it is mixed up , now we should add soaked bread, shredded chicken , pecans and more stock if necessary .  The consistency must not be as a soup , add stock carefully until thicken it , before  take the heat off add the milk.

To serve it, put two halves of boiled potatoes as a base, add the desired amount of aji de gallina, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with one or two olives in halves, one half of boiled egg and chopped parsley.