Ajiaco is a unique Colombian dish, especially beloved in the city of Bogota. It's a hearty chicken soup made with potatoes and corn on the cob. Small yellow Andean potatoes called papas criollas are the important ingredient -- they dissolve and thicken the soup as it cooks. It is a great menu for a cold night, all in one pot. Serve with artisan bread and Spanish Albarino wine.
Ajiaco is seasoned with a Colombian herb called guascas and is traditionally served with slices of avocado, capers, and a mild sour cream.
Cubans make a stew version of ajiaco that includes beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables, and in Peru, this dish is a side dish of potatoes, garlic, chilies, and herbs.
You can usually find frozen papas criollas as well as dried guascas at Latin food markets -- they are worth seeking out if you decide to make this dish.
- Chicken and Potato Stew:
- 2 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
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed potatoes (red, Yukon gold, and russets), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 to 3 ears fresh corn (cut crosswise into quarters) or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 1 bunch cilantro, with stems (washed well and tied with twine)
- 1 bunch green onions (washed and tied with twine)
- 2 tablespoons dried guascas
- 2 avocados (pitted, peeled and thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup Crema Mexicana, sour cream or creme fraîche
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons drained capers (chopped)
- Place the chicken in a glass or ceramic dish. Top with the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart lidded pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken with its marinating bits and brown each side, about 6 minutes.
- 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 turn the heat to medium. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the corn, cilantro, green onions and the guascas.
- Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but not overcooked.
- Remove the cilantro and green onions and return the chicken to the pot.
- Simmer a few minutes more until the chicken is warmed through.
- Ladle the soup into individual bowls and place the toppings on the table to be passed around.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|