This comforting Colombian soup recipe comes to us from Carlos Ordoñez, member of the Slow Food Bogotá Convivium. Carlos scoured the country in search of traditional recipes, collecting 2,700 in just one year. This soup is the perfect example of the symbiosis between the indigenous, peasant and Spanish cultures in the country, whose influences intercept to create a delicious result that has become a national favorite.
Ajíaco Bogotano celebrates the biodiversity of potatoes using three Colombian varieties. We have suggested alternatives if these are not available. This recipe is part of Recetario latinoamericano de los cocineros de la red de Terra Madre - a collection of traditional dishes from across Latin America, published by Slow Food (in Spanish).
1 large scallion, whole
6 tbsp / 25g fresh coriander, chopped
750g skinless chicken breasts, with bone
Salt and pepper to taste
250g Papa Criolla (Solanum phureja), or another creamy yellow potato such as small Yukon Golds or Yellow Fingerling, peeled and cut into cubes
500g Papa Pastusa (Solanum tuberosum), or another large white potato such as Russet, peeled and cut into cubes
375g Papa Sabanera (Solanum tuberosum), or another small purple potato, peeled and cut into cubes
2 medium ears fresh corn, cut into 3 pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
¾ cup / 50g guascas* leaves
¾ cup / 180ml heavy cream
¾ cup / 120g capers, rinsed
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
Tie the stems of scallion and coriander with cotton thread and place them in a large pot along with 2L water, the chicken breasts, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked and tender. Remove chicken and set aside. Remove the scallion and coriander. Add the potatoes, corn and garlic.
Meanwhile, once the chicken is cool, shred by hand and place at the bottom of serving bowls.
Simmer the soup until the potatoes begin to fall apart and the soup thickens and the corn is tender. Add the guascas and cook for further 5-10 minutes.
Prepare separate serving plates for the capers, cream and avocado in the middle of the table so your guests can garnish their soups. Ladel on top of shredded chicken and enjoy!
*Guascas is a common herb in Colombia and can be found in some Latin supermarkets. It is also known as Mielcilla (Costa Rica), Galinsoga (NZ), gallant soldier (USA), and Potato weed. If not available, replace with 2 bay leaves and 2 tbsp chopped parsley.