A Home-Like Soup

 

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Ajiaco (pronounced AH-HE-AH-CO), is more or less a chicken-potato  soup.

Yet, its so much more.
DSC06846Ajiaco is a traditional Colombian soup that has a thick consistency and is served with avocado, corn, cream, and capers on a chilly winter night.

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I learned how to make this soup from my grandmother. To me this soup always reminds me of home, family, love, and warmth. Sometimes everyone just needs a soup that not only tastes amazing, but also brings memories of happiness.

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Aji is also served with a spicy Colombian sauce that adds great flavor to the soup. It is made with tomatoes, green onions and vinegar.

DSC06845Ajiaco

Serves 8 cups

1 chicken, shredded

8 cups of water

3 corn cobs halved

1 pound of tiny potatoes  ( papa criollas)*

1 pound of normal sized potatoes peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 large onion chopped

1 cube of chicken bouillon

1 tablespoon Guascas**

Salt

Pepper

1/2 cup Cilantro leaves plus more for garnish

1/4 cup heavy cream

Avocados

Capers

Put the shredded chicken in a 6- to 8-quart pot and add water, bouillon, onion, guascas, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly, but save the chicken water.

Then add potatoes to pot and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add papas criollas to pot  and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are falling apart and beginning to thicken broth , 20 to 30 minutes.

Add corn, 1/4 cup cilantro, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and simmer, covered, until corn is tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add chicken to stew and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Taste soup, if needed season with salt or pepper.

Serve soup with a teaspoon of capers, 3 slices  of avocado, and leaves of cilantro, in separate bowls. Then add about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of aji (see recipe below) to each bowl.

Aji

2 bunches green onions

1 large tomato

2 tablespoons cilantro

1 teaspoon Tabasco

1/4 tablespoon of chile pepper

2 tablespoon  white vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

 Line the green onions up together and use a knife to cut a three slits into the onions length wise. Then chop the onion finely crosswise, using all of the white parts and half of the dark green parts. Cut the onions very finely.
Place the chopped onion in a small bowl . Finely chop the tomato and add it to the onion bowl. Finely chop the cilantro and add them to the bowl as well. Cut the chiles finely and stir into the mix along with the vinegar, water, oil, tabasco and salt.
Let the ají sit in the refrigerator for around 20 minutes, and then taste  to see if it needs more salt, water, vinegar, or tabasco  (if it seems too salty  add a bit more water, if it seems flat, add more salt). Serve 1 tablespoon with each bowl of ajiaco. This sauce can also be served on fish, potatoes, etc.

Enjoy!

*Papa Criollas are traditional Colombian potatoes, that are about the size of teaspoon, yet are difficult to find. If you can not locate these potatoes use peeled and halved russet potatoes.

**Guascas is a traditional Colombian spice that adds much flavor to the soup, however is difficult to find. Guascas is preferred, but  can be substituted. It can be found in Latin American stores, however if unable to locate use dried oregano and chicken spice.

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