Peruvian Chicken Stew
The brightly colored and intensely fruity Andean pepper known as aji amarillo gives this traditional stew a bold but nuanced character.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 10 fresh or thawed frozen ají amarillo or fresno peppers (about 1⁄2 lb.), stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 16 cloves garlic (whole), plus 4 cloves finely chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 (4-lb.) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup pisco or white rum
- 2 medium new potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and quartered
- 1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups steamed long-grain white rice, for serving
- In a blender, purée 1 tbsp. of the oil along with the vinegar, turmeric, cumin, peppers, whole garlic, and salt to make a thick paste. Place the chicken in a large baking dish and spread the paste all over the chicken with a rubber spatula; cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.
- Transfer the marinade to a bowl, using a butter knife to scrape any excess marinade from chicken; set the marinade aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in an 8-qt. heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, flipping once, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside.
- Add the remaining garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 20 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions, and cook, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the reserved marinade, cilantro, and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and add the pisco. Return pot to heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Nestle the chicken into the pot along with the potatoes and pour in the chicken broth; season with salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, tightly covered, until the potatoes are fork tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Serve the chicken stew over the steamed rice.