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Monday, July 10, 2023

Peruvian chicken with aji verde

It was my time to cook tonight and I decided to try something a little different. Leslie brought home a bunch of nice organic chicken drumsticks yesterday and I decided to make the Peruvian chicken dish Pollo a la brasa.

We are nuts about Peruvian chicken, Les made her own version a week ago but mine was to be different. I wanted to make my first aji verde sauce, a staple of Peru.

I went to two markets on the way home, Northgate and Major, looking for the one ingredient I lacked, a Huacatay paste or sauce. This is a Peruvian herb with a distinct flavor resembling mint. 

But guess what, nowhere to be found, must be purchased at extravagant cost online. So I zigged a little bit and modified the recipe. Bought fresh mint instead and added a serrano pepper at Northgate for a bit more kick.

The first thing I did was prepare the marinade. I used a lime, soy, aji amarilla paste, aji panca powder, six cloves of garlic, olive oil, paprika, coriander, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. 

The recipe I was loosely following suggested adding honey, I couldn't find it and didn't think it was necessary so I omitted it. Also ixnayed the shallots. I squeezed a fresh valencia orange in from my garden for good measure. They are super sweet right now.

The legs sat in their cozy marinade bath in the fridge while I got to work on the aji verde. 

I used aji amarilla paste again, mayo, lime juice, more garlic, a half a serrano pepper for more kick, vinegar, parmigiana cheese, chimichurri cheese and a whole bunch of fresh mint and cilantro. 

Pureed it into a nice thick delicious paste in the cuisinart.

I can't begin to describe how luscious this is, what a unique flavor set with the aji spice.

No wonder Peruvians are so crazy about it, being the preferred dip for their french fries, not to mention chicken.

I took the legs out of the fridge after an hour and dredged them because I like dredging my chicken and getting it a bit more browned and crispy. 

Seared them on the Le Creuset skillet on the cooktop in peanut oil for about five minutes.

After they released I poured the rest of the marinade on top, into the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

With about eight minutes to go I switched to broil to crisp them up and they ended up looking like this. 

Perfectly cooked, to my liking anyway, tented them with foil and let them sit for a bit. 

Not sure why but the recipes say to do it and I am trying to follow directions these days, at least occasionally.

I poured the thing sauce over a couple of these drumsticks and it was sheer heaven. 

Really no corollary for it in any other cuisine I am familiar with. 

Notes of heat to be sure but not overly so and quickly cooled by the tangy mint.

Leslie went out to do something with the girls tonight so I await her verdict but I thought both the chicken and sauce was phenomenally good.

If you like these sorts of flavors, give this recipe a shot.


1 comment:

Lena said...

You allow chicken, or fish, to “rest” after grilling or roasting so it can reabsorb its juices and fats… smart to cover with foil.
Looks absolutely delicious!