Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Southwestern Breakfast Skillet

Have you ever craved a fancy breakfast but thought it was beyond your abilities or required special kitchen equipment? Well, if you have a medium sized pan that can go from stovetop to oven (cast iron or enameled cast iron is great for this, but copper and stainless steel can often go into the oven at lower temperatures), you can have your fancy breakfast, and eat it, too!

This southwestern breakfast skillet is hearty and flavorful and very easy to throw together. It is a riff on the filling for the breakfast burritos I make with my foodie best friend Justine and even though it makes a great burrito filling with scrambled eggs, it tastes next level decadent topped with a fried egg and accompanied by some ripe avocado. The rich, runny yolk is cut deliciously by the spice and acid in the salsa and the veggies really complete the flavor. In fact, it was in discussing how much we would love to top our burrito filling with a runny yolk egg that this breakfast skillet was conceived.

Southwestern Breakfast Skillet

Serves 4

1 large russet potato, diced

1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4” rounds

4 ounces chipotle salsa (see notes)

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cup fire roasted corn kernels

1 ounce sharp cheddar, grated

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained

1/2 teaspoon + 1 pinch cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon + 1 pinch chili powder

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


8 eggs, fried (see notes)

1 avocado, sliced (1/4 per serving)

1/2 ounce cotija cheese, crumbled


Chopped cilantro

Warm corn tortillas

1. Preheat the oven to 425f. Toss diced potatoes with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, a small pinch of salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Mix thoroughly. Arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

2. While potatoes are cooking add remaining oil to a cast iron skillet. Saute onions over medium heat until they begin to soften, then add zucchini, remaining cumin and chilli powder. Continue to saute until zucchini is almost cooked through.

3. Add salsa and beans. Bring the heat down to medium low and turn the oven down to 350f. Cook beans, salsa and zucchini for 5 minutes, then top with potatoes and cheese.

4. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake until cheese melts.

Serve topped with two fried eggs, 1/4 avocado and sprinkled with cotija cheese. Optional: sprinkled also with chopped cilantro and warm corn tortillas.

Notes: any medium heat salsa will work, but I absolutely love the strong, zesty flavors in the chipotle garlic salsa I've been able to find here. This skillet is best with an over medium, over easy or sunny side up fried egg; in other words an egg with a liquid yolk. Unless liquid egg yolk really squicks you out I highly recommend it. It really makes a world of difference.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Aji de Gallina (Peruvian Chicken Stew)

I’ve been meaning to write up this recipe for quite some time. Probably because it is one of our favorites and because this dish is the first Peruvian dish I’ve ever made for my husband, I’ve taken it for granted. But Ají de Gallina, or “Hen Chili” with its spicy, creamy yellow gravy, should never be taken for granted. It’s just that delicious and remarkable. Not to mention unlike other chicken in gravy dishes, in that the gravy is thinner yet rich and satisfying.

This is an excellent dish to add to your menu as we head into fall. It is hearty, warming and easy to throw together. The key ingredient, Aji Amarillo paste can be obtained online and one jar will last through at least 20 preparations of this delicious stew (link included below). Although this isn’t a difficult dish it is nevertheless a dish you make for someone you love. Give it a try. It is sure to become a family favorite.

This recipe has been adapted from my husband's Aunt's excellent dish.

Ají de Gallina

Serves 8 (or 4 with leftovers)

3 1/4 lbs bone in skin on chicken legs & thighs
3 Tbsp Aji Amarillo Paste
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 large yellow onion, quartered
10 whole black peppercorns
10 oz potatoes, peeled & cut into large chunks
1 cup milk
2 slices stale white bread
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt to taste

8 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Minced green olives
Whole cilantro leaves


In a dutch oven or other heavy bottom large pot, place onions, potatoes & garlic in a single layer. Place chicken over it in a single layer. Add stock, then (if needed) up to 2 cups water to cover. Sprinkle peppercorns and add aji paste, bay leaf and a small pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 90 minutes, or until chicken is fall off the bone tender.

Meanwhile, cut crusts off of bread and pulse in the food processor until the consistency is fine.

When the chicken has about 30 minutes left, combine milk and bread crumbs in a bowl and set aside to soak.

When the 90 minutes’ simmer time is up, take chicken off of the heat and strain 3 - 4 cups of the resulting broth and add to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer. Slowly incorporate milk/bread crumb mixture until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. To serve, scoop chicken and potatoes out of broth and ladle generously with sauce. Top with boiled egg slices (approx 3/4 egg per serving) and sprinkle with minced olives and whole cilantro. Serve with rice.

Aji paste can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Incas-Food-Aji-Amarillo-Paste/dp/B003G52K5E/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1536109978&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=aji%2Bamarillo%2Bpaste&smid=A2JUE5HOAY6SX0&th=1