Columbian Potato Soup (Ajiaco)
I’m always on the lookout for extraordinary ways to enjoy ordinary food items. What is more ordinary than a potato? This adaptation of a soup from Colombia will totally change your image of what you know as potato soup. Ajiaco is a thin soup, verging on clear. The flavor comes from the broth and from the chicken should you choose to include it. The flavor is simple and mild until you get to the condiments. Mercy!
The serving style here is much like the Mexican pozole: a simple broth with meat gets ladled into soup bowls then diners add what they want from a buffet of choices. Now you have a steaming hot soup piled with fresh items like avocado and onion. Many have never experienced a soup like this. Once you do, you will look for occasions to repeat it.
The biggest surprise with this recipe is what is called “salsa.” Having lived in California for the last several decades, I have distinct expectations of what a salsa is. This one did not meet my expectations for “salsa.” I was delighted with this take — it isn’t like anything I’ve ever eaten. We all immediately fell in love with this salsa and have used it since on fish, quesadillas, and potatoes.
This recipe is adapted from the 1997 Sunset Recipe Annual.
Colombian Potato Soup Ingredients
- 6 cups bone broth
- 1 russet potato peeled and thinly sliced
- 10 waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold or red, scrubbed and cubed
- 10 oz package of frozen corn kernels
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into thin strips (optional)
- 2 avocados, diced and tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 tablespoon drained capers
- 6 tablespoon whipping cream
- 3 hard boiled eggs, in wedges or diced
Salsa de Aji Ingredients
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper
- 1 packed cup of cilantro
- 2 peeled cloves of garlic, chopped a bit
- 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
Colombian Potato Soup Steps
- Place the potatoes in broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the russets are falling apart and the waxy potatoes are tender. The russets will provide the little bit of thickening this soup has.
- Add the corn kernels and chicken strips. Cook another 7 or 8 minutes. You could use leftover bits of cooked chicken instead. If that is the case, reduce the cooking time.
- While the potatoes and corn are cooking, prepare the condiment bowls.
- To make the salsa, clean the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno. Chop it just a bit and toss into the blender along with the garlic, cilantro, and vinegar.
- Start the blender. You will have to stop the blender a number of times, pushing down the ingredients before you get a real sauce in the bottom of the blender. When the sauce is relatively smooth, pour it into a serving container.
- Line up your condiments and salsa on a buffet for easy dispensing.
- Check the chicken for doneness. (There should be no pink on the inside of the pieces.)
- Ladle the soup into wide bowls so diners have plenty of room for adding their own condiments.
- The leftover salsa will keep fairly well in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for two days. After that, the taste deteriorates rapidly, so find lots of new ways to use it. It’s too wonderful to waste!