Monday, June 30, 2008

Mango - StL

Here's our last notable meal of St. Louis - Mango, a family Peruvian restaurant. Tyler and I have are fans of Peruvian, and we've enjoyed it both family style and fusion. Fusion is fun, but the good old food of the people is the way to go. Since I get Peruvian so rarely I ordered my favorite dishes from my time in Peru - Papas Rellenos and Aji de Gallina.
The papas are essentially mashed potatoes filled with spicy meat and raisins. These weren't the best I've had, but were still very good. A papa could easily be a lunch in itself.
The Aji is my all time favorite dish and this one didn't let me down. Bread thickened yellow pepper sauce with shredded chicken, potatoes, boiled egg and olives on rice. My first plate of this was with Los Hermanos de Colombianos - and Italian Catholic order that I stayed with prior to my big climb. The housekeeper made this for me to fatten me up before the climb!

Aji de Gallina
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger
1 large frying chicken (about 3 1/2 4 pounds)
1 leek, trimmed, washed and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon yellow Aji, Amarillo or Chile powder
1/3 cup finely chopped or ground walnuts
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds small potatoes, boiled, peeled and halved
4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
Chopped parsley for garnish

Place chicken in a large pot and fill with water to halfway up sides of bird. Add leek, onion, carrot, tomato, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and place in a bowl until cool enough to remove the meat from the bones and shred into bitesize pieces. Meanwhile, strain broth and reserve 4 cups.

Soak the bread in the milk. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and saute for 1 more minute. Add softened bread and aji or chile powder, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. (For a creamier sauce, place onionbread mixture in a blender, puree until smooth and return to skillet.) Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and continue cooking until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and simmer for 5 to 8 more minutes, adding more stock if needed. Stir in the walnuts and Parmesan cheese, and simmer gently for another 5 minutes, or until thickened slightly. To serve, spoon chicken and sauce onto a serving platter and surround with potatoes and eggs. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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