A Hearty Colombian Soup Rich in Flavor and Tradition

By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

AjiacoSoups and stews are popular dishes in my family. Growing up, my parents had lunch gatherings at our finca (or farm) on weekends, and the entire family would come over for some delicious ajiaco, a traditional Colombian soup. My family made the soup in a large, clay pot, and cooked it slowly over firewood for four to six hours while everyone sipped wine, savored appetizers and listened to romantic music playing in the distance. By the time lunch was ready, it was already dinnertime. But that didn't matter, because everyone would gather at dusk to enjoy a steaming bowl of ajiaco around the fireplace.

The key ingredient to the traditional ajiaco is a small potato called papa criolla, often found frozen in Latin supermarkets. While the soup cooks, the potato dissolves creating the desired creamy texture. Typically, we serve it with capers, and top it with a little bit of heavy cream for richness.


Ajiaco ingredientsAjiaco ingredientsIngredients
(20 servings)
16 cups water
6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 lb. papa criolla or white potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb. white potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups green peas
3 stalks green onions, chopped
4 ears of corn, peeled and cut in 3
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cilantro bunch, chopped
1½ cups heavy cream or half & half
1 cup capers
5 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut in pieces

Try this dish with my delicious, Bogotá-style hot toddy

Shredded chicken and cut cornDirections

Preheat the water in a large pot at medium heat. Add the chicken, papa criolla, potatoes, peas, green onions, corn and salt and pepper, Cook for an hour and a half.

Remove the chicken breast, shred it and set aside in a separate bowl. Reduce the temperature to low, and add the garlic and cilantro to the pot. Let the ingredients simmer uncovered for another hour.

Check the soup's texture and consistencyCheck to make sure the soup has thickened, becoming creamy in texture. Otherwise, cook for another 20 minutes or until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Before serving, add three tablespoons of shredded chicken to the bowls of soup. Top with a tablespoon of heavy cream and a teaspoon of capers. Serve avocado on the side and enjoy!

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