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Aji De Gallina ( Chicken in Spicy Nut Sauce ) Recipe

4 lb Chicken; cut in quarters
5 c Cold water
8 Slices fresh homemade bread;
;white bread type
2 c Milk
1 c Onions; finely chopped
1 ts Garlic; finely chopped
1/4 c Red chili paste (Aji molido
Con aceite); or 1/4 c dried
;hontaka chilies, seeded and
;ground in a blender or
;pulverized with a mortar
;and pestle
1 c Walnuts; shelled, ground in
;blender or pulverized with
;a mortar and pestle
2 ts Salt
1/4 ts Black pepper; freshly ground
2 tb Annatto (achiote) oil
1/4 c Parmesan cheese; freshly
2 lb Boiling potatoes; peeled,
;sliced 1/4 inch thick,
;freshly boiled and hot
3 Hard cooked eggs; each cut
;in 6 to 8 lengthwise wedges
12 Ripe black olives
2 Fresh hot red chilies;
;stemmed, seeded, deribbed
;and cut lengthwise into
;strips 1/4 inch wide

In a heavy 4 to 5 quart saucepan, bring the chicken and 5 cups of
cold water to a boil over high heat, and remove all scum from the
surface. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the chicken
for 30 minutes, or until it is tender but not falling apart. transfer
the chicken to a plate, and set the stock aside for another use. When
the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a small
knife or your fingers. Cut or pull the meat away from the bones.
Discard the bones, and cut the chicken meat into strips 1/8 inch wide
and 1 to 1 1/2 inches long.
Cut the crusts from the bread and tear the slices into small pieces.
Place them in a bowl, add 1 cup of the milk and let them soak for 5
minutes. Then, with a fork or your hands, mash the bread and milk to
a thick paste.
In a heavy 10 to 12 inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat
and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5
minutes, or until the onions are soft and transparent but not brown.
Add the chili paste or ground chilies, walnuts, salt and pepper,
reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the annatto oil
and bread paste, then gradually add the remaining cup of milk. Cook,
stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. add the chicken and
cheese, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts and
the chicken is heated through.

Spread the boiled potato slices side by side in a large casserole
or deep platter and spoon the chicken and sauce over them. Garnish
the top with hard cooked eggs, olives and chili strips.

NOTE: Peruvian cooks blanch and skin the walnuts--and you may,
too, if you have the patience. Drop shelled walnuts into boiling
water and let them soak for an hour. Drain and peel them, one at a

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Time/Life 'Foods of the World', Recipes: Latin American Cooking

Earl Cravens