This month's recipe, causa limeña, is Peruvian comfort food. Another, more descriptive name for this causa (from the Quechuan word 'kausaq,' to give life) might be "stuffed mashed potatoes." It's both unusual and delicious, and even better for August, it's a dish that's served chilled, often as an appetizer, lunch, or snack.
In a completely authentic version of this recipe, the paprika and cayenne would be replaced by ground dried aji amarillo, which has a yellow color and medium heat. The resulting causa would have a more yellow/less orange color than we get with paprika & cayenne.
You'll also need a modestly-sized, high-sided vessel in which to assemble the causa. A bread loaf pan works well.
2 pounds potatoes, peeled
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cooked and finely chopped white and dark meat chicken (a rotisserie bird from the supermarket works great)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery heart
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped finely, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Cook potatoes until soft, then mash until mostly smooth. In a small bowl, mix the chile powders, turmeric, salt, and oil to a rough paste, then mix it into the mashed potatoes. Stir until the potatoes are very smooth and the seasonings well combined.
Add chicken, celery, herbs, salt, and mayonnaise to a bowl and stir to combine well.
Oil the dish, then spread half the potatoes in an even layer. Spread the chicken mixture over the first layer of potatoes, tamp it down with the back of a spoon, then cover it with a second layer made from the remaining potatoes.
Cover and chill thoroughly. Sprinkle with extra parsely, then cut into ~6 pieces for serving while still chilled. At room temp, the causa can be sticky and hard to remove from the pan.