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Chicken Skewers with Peruvian Style Cheese Sauce

Pan roasted achiote-rubbed chicken skewers with ají amarillo-Oaxaca cheese sauce.

Ingredients

Achiote Rub

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.75 oz. achiote condimentado paste
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4-6 (9 to 12-inch) bamboo or metal skewers

Salsa de Ají y Queso

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup diced Roma or plum tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp ají amarillo paste or to taste
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 oz. package Crystal Farms Shredded Oaxaca
  • 1 set(2 gloves) disposable gloves
Recommended Crystal Farms Product Substitutions: Crystal Farms Shredded Asadero

Instructions

Make the achiote rub

  • Put the oil in a large bowl. Add the achiote paste, salt, and pepper. Wearing disposable gloves, crumble the achiote paste with your fingers and blend it thoroughly with the other ingredients to form a thick paste. Add the chicken. While still wearing gloves, work the achiote paste with fingers into every piece of chicken making sure it is well coated with the mixture.
  • Divide the chicken equally between 4-6 skewers.

Make the Salsa de Ají y Queso

  • Place a griddle or large nonstick skillet on medium high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Roast the chicken until medium charred and cooked, about 4-5 minutes per side, turning the skewers with tongs on all four sides.
  • While the chicken is roasting, make the salsa.

Make the Salsa de Ají y Queso

  • Add the oil to a medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 1 minute before adding the remaining ingredients (except cheese). Season with salt and pepper. Stirring constantly, gradually add the cheese. Turn the heat off as soon as the cheese starts melting. Stir quickly to combine flavors.

Assemble the dish

  • While hot, pour the sauce in the center of a large platter and top it with the skewers.
    Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and parsley leaves.

Tips from Guatemalan Chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard:

  • Achiote condimentado paste (condimented annatto paste) comes in small packages of 3.5 ounces. Use half of the package for this recipe and freeze the rest for another time.
  • Ají amarillo paste comes in a jar of 7.5 ounces. Both (achiote paste and ají y amarillo paste) are available at Latin markets and at some major grocery stores in the U.S. 
  • Taste the ají amarillo paste in advance to check for heat strength before adding it to the sauce and adjust the heat level to taste.
  • Marinate the chicken the evening before for deeper flavor, or a few hours to a few minutes before grilling time.
  • For balance, accompany this dish with roasted, steamed, or mashed potatoes, and a quick green salad, or a vegetable of choice.
  • For a thinner sauce, add more hot stock.
  • Reheat any leftover sauce over a Bain Marie (hot water bath.) To make the sauce in advance, keep it warm this way.

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