Chicken with Peruvian Chile Sauce

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  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 25 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 (4 to 5 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 slice whole wheat sandwich bread, crust removed, cut or torn into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 cup half-and-half

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large or 2 small shallots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups (6 ounces) crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus 1/3 cup toasted (see Cook's Note)

1 tablespoon Aji Amarillo paste (found in Latin markets or the Hispanic section of grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves


  1. For the chicken: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.
  2. Rub the chicken on all sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece of chicken registers 160 degrees F, 35 to 45 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes.
  3. For the sauce: Place the bread and half-and-half in the bowl of a food processor. Allow the bread to soak up the liquid, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Cool slightly and add to the food processor with the soaked bread. Add the broth, cheeses, 1/2 cup walnuts, Aji Amarillo paste, and turmeric. Blend until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
  5. Spoon some of the sauce on a platter and arrange the chicken on top. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts and cilantro (or parsley, if using) and serve.
  6. Cook's Note: To toast the walnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.