Ajiaco is a popular soup in Colombia, Cuba, and Peru. Its origin has been debated, and there are several regional variations. In Cuba, it is prepared as a stew, while in Bogotá, Colombia, it is a soup that primarily contains potatoes, corn, and herbs called guascas.
medium russet potatoes or 6 "criolla" potatoes, diced (see tips)
medium red potatoes, diced
medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
ears of corn, fresh or frozen, cut into quarters
garlic cloves, crushed
low-sodium vegetable broth
yellow cassava (arracacha), peeled and shredded (optional, see tips)
Salt and pepper, to taste
fresh lime juice
diced green onion
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Vegan sour cream (optional)
1. Soak the dried guascas in a cup of hot water for 45 minutes.
2. Sauté the onion in a hot skillet for about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, carrots, corn, vegetable broth, and soaked guascas (including the water), and bring to a boil.
4. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and yellow cassava (if using) and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes begin to break apart. Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, process one cup of the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Do not puree the entire soup! It should be chunky.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Remove from heat and add lime juice.
8. Serve topped with green onions, cilantro, avocado, sour cream and capers (if using).
1. You can find guascas in most Latin markets, or you can order them online. Don't omit them!
2. Yellow cassava, also known as “arracacha”, “apio criollo”, or “zanahoria blanca” can be found fresh and frozen in various Latin supermarkets. It is not the same root vegetable as yucca.
3. The “criolla” (creole) potato is a variety native to South America that's especially popular in Colombia. These tubers are small, similar to a golf ball. The flesh is yellow to dark yellow and the peel is tender. You can find them frozen in most Latin supermarkets in the United States.
4. Traditional Colombian Ajiaco is made with chicken. For a delicious alternative, add 1 cup of fresh oyster mushrooms when you add the garlic and yellow cassava.