Ajiaco (Colombian Chicken, Potato and Corn Soup)

This Colombian soup is served in restaurants throughout Bogota and is generally considered comfort food. It can contain as many as three different kinds of potatoes, but we streamlined this recipe to use two (Yukon gold and purple, though you can substitute red bliss for the purple). The garnishes add brightness and bring the soup to life.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

4 chicken leg quarters (leg and thigh; about 2 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt

1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion) 

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf 

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems roughly chopped, 1 cup leaves reserved

1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped, whites and greens separated

1 to 2 teaspoons habanero hot sauce 

3 tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 pound mixed Yukon gold and purple (or red bliss) potatoes, quartered and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 ear corn, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds 

1 to 2 avocados, sliced, for serving

1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, for serving

1/4 cup capers, for serving

Directions

  1. In a 5-quart pot, combine the chicken, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 8 cups water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and skim any foam or impurities from the top. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, cilantro stems and scallion whites. Simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is tender and releases easily when pierced with a knife, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl to cool, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile make the aji sauce: In a food processor, combine the scallion greens, hot sauce, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup of the cilantro leaves and pulse to a coarse sauce. Set aside. (Alternatively, the ingredients can be chopped by hand and stirred to combine.)
  3. Add the potatoes to the soup along with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Cover, bring back to a simmer and simmer another 10 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, remove the chicken meat from the bones and shred with your hands or 2 forks (discard the bones and skin). Set aside. 
  5. Add the corn to the soup and cook until the corn and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken meat back to the soup and return the soup to a simmer. Add salt if needed.
  6. Divide the soup among 6 bowls and serve with sliced avocado, sour cream, capers, aji sauce and remaining cilantro leaves.
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