LIFESTYLE

Colombian Ajiaco Soup

March 23, 2017

 

Ajiaco is a classic chicken and potato soup from the mountains around Bogotá. I had it several times living in the city, and it quickly became a staple in my diet. This soup is about as simple, delicious, and comforting as food gets.

Ingredients

  • 3 large chicken breasts, bone-in and skin on (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 pounds mixed potatoes (red, yukon gold, and russets), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2-3 ears fresh corn, cut crosswise into quarters
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, with stems, and tied with twine
  • 1 bunch green onions, and tied with twine
  • 1 bunch oregano, and tied with twine
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche

Toppings

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers

Place the chicken in a glass dish. Top with the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken with its marinating bits and brown each side, about 6 minutes total. Pour in the stock and raise the heat to high. When the mixture boils, lower the heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, reserving the cooking liquid in the pot. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Cut or tear the chicken breasts into bite-size strips and discard the bones.

Place the potatoes in the pot with the leftover cooking liquid and set over medium heat. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the corn, jalapeno, the bunch of scallions, the bunch of cilantro, and the bunch of oregano. Simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but not overcooked. Remove the cilantro and scallions and return the chicken to the pot. Simmer another few minutes until the chicken is warmed through. Add capers and crème fraîche, stir until thickens.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and place the toppings on the table to be passed around.

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