(*with apologies to Colombia)
I first had this soup in La Candelaria (the old town) of Bogota, Colombia. They are proud of it as ‘their dish’ due to the cold weather associated with being above 8600 ft elevation. Though, honestly, it didn’t feel very cold to this Canadian!
Two of the things which are local in Bogota but NOT in Southampton are Papas Criolla and Guascas. Luckily I have found substitutes…
Papas Criolla are creole potatoes, they are a yellow-fleshed potato which more or less dissolves in the first stage of simmering (no need to process). Our yellow-fleshed potatoes (like Yukon Gold) are a good substitute but don’t break down enough on their own, so require a quick pulse in a food processor or blender.
Guascas, on the other hand, is a mild herb from the daisy family that I didn’t think added much flavour to the dish. I have added a bay leaf in the second simmering for a similar flavour, though, I honestly think you could do without.
Anyway, this is the Southampton version, and I hope you like it!
Yield: Serves 8
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil, divided
8 Cups ‘good’ chicken broth
2 – 2.5 lbs baby potatoes 3/4 lb EACH of yellow, red, white
2 Cups frozen corn kernels
1 bunch cilantro (about 15 stems), washed very well (save some for garnish)
1 bunch green onions (5 or 6 onions), washed
(Tie the two above ‘bunches’ together in cheesecloth)
1 bay leaf (OR 2 tablespoons dried guascas if you can find it!)
1/2 cup, sour cream, plain yogurt, or crème fraîche
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 Tbsp drained capers, chopped
avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
2 Cups cooked white rice
Place the chicken, onion, 1 Tbsp Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a container and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil in a lidded pot over high heat until shimmering.
Add the chicken with its’ marinade and brown each side, about 10 minutes total.
Add JUST the yellow potatoes and pour in the broth and raise the heat to high.
When the mixture boils, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is tender (about 15 minutes).
Transfer the chicken to a platter, reserving the cooking liquid in the pot.
Remove most of the potatoes from the pot along with some of the broth and pulse in a food processor until mostly broken down, but not fully puréed. Return to the pot.
Place the remaining potatoes in the pot with the leftover cooking liquid and set the stove to medium heat.
Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, cut or tear into bite-size strips.
Add the corn, the cheesecloth pouch of cilantro & green onion, and the bay leaf (or guascas). Simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but not overcooked.
Remove the cilantro and scallions and return the shredded chicken to the pot.
Simmer another few minutes until the chicken is warmed through.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls, serve with a side of rice & avocado slices and place the other toppings on the table to be passed around.
In true ‘Colombian style’, use your spoon to nip off a small piece of avocado, scoop a small amount of rice THEN fill your spoon with soup – yummy!