Chicken in Chile Sauce (Aji De Gallina)

READY IN: 30mins




  • Garnish: pitted black Peruvian or Kalamata olives, halved; lime wedges (preferably Key limes).
  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
  • If using quail eggs, cover with cold water in a very small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Rinse eggs under cold water to stop cooking, then peel.
  • Soak bread in milk until softened, then mash with a fork.
  • Cook onion and garlic in 1 1/2 Tbsp oil with turmeric and 1/4 tsp salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in chile paste and bread mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in broth and cheese and simmer 1 minute. Carefully transfer to a blender with walnuts and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute (use caution when blending hot liquids). Transfer sauce to a medium saucepan and keep warm, covered, over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Pat chicken dry, then season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, then brown half of chicken, skin side down first, turning once, about 8 minutes total. Transfer, skin side up, to a 4-sided sheet pan. Pour off oil from skillet and wipe clean, then brown remaining chicken in remaining Tbsp oil in same manner.
  • Roast chicken in oven until just cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Halve quail eggs lengthwise.
  • Spoon some of sauce onto a large platter, then arrange chicken on top. Garnish with quail eggs and serve with remaining sauce on the side.