One rainy, unemployed afternoon a few years ago, I was wanting to make the French dish, Coq au Vin (chicken in wine sauce) after having received Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” as a birthday present, but I didn't have all of the ingredients required, nor the funds to procure them. I did, however, have a few Peruvian seasonings in my kitchen, so I decided to make a sort of hybrid of the French dish using some Peruvian ingredients and cooking methods. The result is a dish that is thorougly Peruvian in flavor, but still retains the elegance of the traditional French stew. Instead of using a roux or beurre manié to thicken the sauce (both are butter and flour mixtures used often in French cuisine), I used ground roasted peanuts, which originated in Peru. This method is common in Peruvian cuisine to thicken stews and sauces and also imparts a mild earthiness to whatever it is applied.
Carlos C. Olaechea
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 4 small red potatoes, quartered, skins left on
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2" - 1" thick rounds
- 1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
- 1 t ground black pepper
- 1 t whole cumin seeds (or ground cumin, if preferred)
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- 2 T aji panca paste
- 1 fresh or frozen yellow aji, finely chopped (remove seeds and veins if you desire less heat)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 T worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat, and add the bay leaves, cloves, cumin, and black pepper. Fry in the oil until fragrant. You will see that the bay leaves brown slightly, and the cloves "puff up"
- Add onion and cook until soft
- Add bouillon cube, break up and dissolve. Then add yellow aji and garlic and cook through, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Add aji panca paste and worcestershire sauce and stir.
- Add potatoes and carrots and stir to coat vegetables
- Add red wine and water, then add chicken.
- Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. Cook until potatoes and carrots are cooked through. The chicken will already be fully cooked and tender by this point
- Add ground roasted peanuts and simmer uncovered until sauce is thick. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water to thin it out - no more than a 1/4 cup
- Add salt to taste. Remember that there is a beef bouillon cube already in there, so be sparing with the salt.
- Serve with rice and garnish with a sprinkle of ground peanuts and some parsely
This dish can also be made with about 2-3 boneless chicken thighs in place of the breast