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papa a la huancaina

This is a popular appetizer, native to the city of Huancayo (capital of the Junín region, central Peruvian Andes). A Creole dish, It combines dairy products introduced by the Spanish with 2 of the most Andean ingredients: potatoes and ajíes.

10 medium white potatoes 
½ lb (¼ kg) of fresh white cheese (ricotta or feta are ok) 
5 fresh yellow chilli-peppers (ají amarillo)
1 cup evaporated milk 
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup vegetable oil 
2 cloves garlic 
5-6 saltine crackers 
Salt and pepper 
3 hard cooked eggs 
Black olives 

Cook and peel potatoes and allow to cool.
Remove seeds and veins from the ajíes, wash well with water, and chop finely. In a medium skillet with hot oil, sauté the ajíes, onions, and garlic until tender.
Put this mix in a blender with the cheese, milk, crackers, salt and pepper. Pour the oil slowly until you get the characteristic smooth-creamy consistency of the sauce (you can add more crackers or some more milk for increasing/reducing thickness). Adjust to taste with salt and pepper if necessary, and let cool at room temperature.
Lay a bed of lettuce in a dish and place the potatoes on top. Cover with the sauce, and serve with hard boiled eggs (in halves) and black olives.

Makes 6 servings. 


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