Columbians love soups, every region with its various natural resources has a unique comfort food type of soup. Ajiaco is a delicious classic you would find in the country’s capital city Bogota. It is very simple to make, wonderfully addictive but requires at least one special ingredient to separate it out from most chicken and potato soups, it the herb Guascas. A delightful kind of citrus herb, that grows like a weed, and is sometime called the Valient Soldier! You can buy it online* or if you are in a Columbian neighborhood any where in the world ask for it in the local stores and delis. They will usually have it. I also recommend using all the garnishes when serving your soup. The capers, cilantro and cream really offer a fabulous taste treat.
In this picture the Ajiaco is served with the garnishes, rice and some Farmers Cheese Fritters. A very filling meal.
Ajiaco Chicken, Potato, Corn traditional Colombian Soup
2 chicken breasts and 3 large legs – skin removed
3 large cloves of garlic chopped
1 large onion chopped
3 -4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
12 sm yellow potatoes – I like the finger potoatos
3 medium yukon gold cut up in one inch cubes
8 small red potatoes cut in half
Chopped bunch of cilantro plus 1/4 cup of leaves for garnish
8 T of dried Guascas
2 T of salt
1 T of Pepper
3 Ears of Corn cut in wheels
10 Cups of a Chicken Broth.
1 Cup of Sour Cream or Mexican Crema if available.
1 Avocado Sliced
1 cut up lime
1/8 cup of capers
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. A classic La Chamba, Colombian clay pot would be idea but any dutch oven or large soup pot will work. Saute the chopped onion and garlic until golden. Remove the onions and save to the side. Next saute and cook the in the same oil/liquid as the onions. When cooked through re add the cooked onion mixture, chicken broth, spices and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 mins. Add the cut up potatoes simmer for about 40 min. Add in the wheels of corn. Colombian corn would be added earlier since the traditional corn from this are for this dish would have larger slightly tougher kennels than the tender yellow typically found in the US. Cook the corn in the broth for about 12 – 15 min.
Serve the soup with bowls of the condiments, capers, sour cream, cilantro leaves and the sliced avocado.
* Online Source for Guascas
http://www.amigofoods.com/kigu10gr.html cool website for all kinds of special ingredients.
Here is a classic bowl of Ajiaco I was served in Bogota, Colombia. It looks way different than the way I make Ajiaco, more potato and less brothy. Another highly recommended way to make ajiaco. Ajiaco is often served in a clay Chamba bowl. This bowl design originated over 2000 years ago and still being produced in the same region.