Ají de Cerdo (Pork Chili)

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with a friend. She mentioned a stew she used to have — and loved — in Ecuador. The name of the stew was Aji de Carne (beef chili). This chili was made with onion, tomato, beef, plantain, peanut, milk, and other ingredients. Just listening to her description of this flavor-packed stew made my mouth water. I immediately set out to figure out how to make this recipe in my kitchen.

Looking online I was never able to find a recipe written in English — everything was in Spanish. I called my friend to see if she had a recipe. She contacted her family in Ecuador for the recipe, and she got one that she then translated into English for me.

The recipe my friend gave was made with beef, but I had none on hand so I used some pork that I had recently bought. True to my usual form, I made a few tweaks as I was cooking to get the combination of spices and other ingredients. Making this soup takes a bit of time but is entirely worth the effort. Simply put, it is phenomenal!

I am calling it Aji de Cerdo since the chili is made with pork. I shared the dish with my friend and she really liked my pork version a lot. To serve the soup you place one whole egg and one whole potato in each serving bowl. Ladle broth over the eggs and potatoes, and then sprinkle some pork, tomatoes, hot sauce, fried plantain slices, and cilantro.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium sized Yukon or red potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. red palm oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stem, tender parts, chopped
  • 1 red jalapeno, whole
  • 1 cup tomatoes, small dice
  • 2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups plantain, peeled, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 oil to fry

To serve

  • 1/2 cup sliced plantain, fried
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup pork, cooked
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Hot pepper sauce

Instructions

Place peanuts and 1 cup of milk in a blender, blend until completely smooth, and set aside. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper on the pork, then mix.

Melt butter on medium-high heat in a large heavy bottom sauce pan. Brown pork in couple of batches. Remove from the pan and save a 1/2 cup of the pork for garnish and the rest will go into soup later in the steps. Add palm oil to the pan.

Add onions and garlic, then cook until onions are soft about 2-3 minutes. Add thyme, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cilantro stems. Cook for a minute and add chopped tomatoes. Stir well and cook for a minute.

Add diced potatoes, plantains, and jalapeno. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add rest of the milk and water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until potatoes and plantains are tender and breaks a part. This will take around 25-30 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup oil. When oil is hot, add the plantain slices and cook until slices are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add whole potatoes to the same oil and fry the potatoes in all sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add whole peeled eggs to the same oil and fry the eggs until all sides are lightly brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add pureed peanuts, cooked pork, fried whole eggs, and whole potatoes to the pot. Stir gently so the whole potatoes don’t break. Cook for 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream and turn the heat off. Taste for seasoning. Fish out the whole jalapeno and discard.

Transfer the soup to a large bowl, top with garnished ingredients, and enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s