Ariel Fox’s Recipe for Chicken Picadillo with Peruvian Green Sauce and Cashew Cream

Ariel Fox is the chef and mastermind behind Dos Caminos, a popular Mexican restaurant chain in New York City.

In 2008, Fox was selected to participate in “Hell’s Kitchen”, a cooking competition show hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. She became one of three finalists for the show’s sixth season. In 2018, Fox won Season 18 as a returning veteran.

Fox dropped by “GMA3” on Thursday to share her recipe for Chicken Picadillo with Peruvian Green Sauce and Cashew Cream. This recipe, among others, can be found in her cookbook, “Spice Kitchen: Healthy Latin and Caribbean Cuisine.”

Chicken Picadillo Recipe:

1 small pumpkin (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds organic ground chicken

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 poblano pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 cup diced plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup chilli-stuffed Spanish green olives, sliced

Additional sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix the cubed pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

3. Spread the pumpkin out on a greased nonstick baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Roast until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

5. In a large sauté pan, brown the ground chicken with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add coconut sugar, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Once cooked, using a slotted spoon, remove the ground chicken from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towel.

6. Return the pan to heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until almost golden.

7. Add ground cumin, ground allspice and poblano pepper. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes before incorporating the roasted pumpkin pieces.

8. Return the cooked ground chicken to the skillet.

9. Deglaze the pan by adding the tequila. Be careful – it may ignite momentarily due to the alcohol content. Once the tequila has reduced and the raw alcohol is cooked – about 5 minutes – add the tomatoes, olives and capers.

10. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Peruvian Green Sauce (Aju Verde)

1/4 cup plain cashew cream or real mayonnaise made with olive oil
2 cups cilantro leaves, stems removed (about a large bunch)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste (found in ethnic markets)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Juice of two limes
Apple cider vinegar splash
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a high power blender. Blend until the herbs are almost completely broken down and the sauce is bright green and creamy. It will still have some texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

Cashew nut cream

1 cup raw cashews 1/2 cup filtered water

Place cashews and water in a high power blender. Blend on high until completely smooth.

Michael M. Tomlin