Ajiaco Soup

Ajiaco soup is a dish that is typically associated with Bogota. The Cubans have their own version which is substantially different. In Colombia, ajiaco is made typically with chicken, corn, three different types of potatoes and an herb called guascas. In the United States this is considered a weed and is called quickweed or galinsoga. To be technically correct it is called the Galinsoga Parviflora herb.

One of the most important ingredients is the papa criolla, a golden tone potato that dissolves and gives the soup a thick, creamy broth feeling.

Ingredients – (6-8 SERVINGS)

  • 2 large chicken breast, skin on, bone in – about 1 1/2 lbs.
  • 12 cups water
  • 2-3 ears fresh corn, cut into 5 cm pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 bunch green onions, washed and tied with twine
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed well with stems tied with twine
  • 2 cups papa criolla – peeled
  • 3 medium white potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup guascas
  • 1 cup heavy cream for serving
  • 1 cup capers for serving

Directions

Place the chicken in a pot. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper then cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours. This step is not necessary but will give your chicken more flavour.

In a large pot, add the chicken, corn, chicken bouillon, cilantro, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. Add the water and bring to a boil. After it has boiled you should reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 35 to 40 minutes. When the chicken is cooked and tender, remove it and set it aside. Just a note – you can use chicken stock to replace the chicken bouillon.

Let the corn cook for 30 more minutes at which point you can discard the green onion and add the red potatoes and white potatoes plus the guacas. Cook for 30 more minutes. When the potatoes are almost done add the papa criolla and let them simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste.

In other parts of the world you can substitute Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes. The Yukon Gold will give you the colour but they won’t dissolve like the papa criolla. You would be best to over cooked them so that they will break apart and simulate the criollas. One of the most important parts of this soap is this thick, creamy broth that the papa criolla creates.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Cut or tear the chicken breasts into bite-size strips and discard the bones. Return the chicken to the pot. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve hot with capers and heavy cream on the side.