This right here is by far my favourite Colombian dish. The Amazing Ajiaco Santafereño, which, as its name tells us comes from Santa fe de Bogotá. It is one of the city’s staple dishes.
However, as much as I love it, I had never tried to make it, until this year! This year after Christmas, I decided that enough was enough, my next trip to Colombia was still ages away and my cravings for Ajiaco were far to big to ignore.
Last time I had my mom make it in front of me at my home using all the ingredients I would use and the replacements I would use.
So, I set to make it on my own once my mom went back to Colombia and was surprised at how easy and fast it was to make it and the best thing is that the Ajiaco tasted like the Ajiaco I know and love. I have sinde then prepared it a couple of times now and feel this is definitely the best Ajiaco away from Colombia you can make.
I used to believe that what made this dish were the Colombian Papa Criolla, yes it makes a difference but in can still be replaced by other starchier potatoes that melt easily without affecting the flavour too much. What really sets Ajiaco a world apart from a normal chicken soup are the herbs “Guascas”. This is the only irreplaceable herb that gives the soup it’s signature flavour. I have tried many different Ajiacos, homemade versions and at fancy restaurants, however, no one makes a better Ajiaco than my mom. This is her recipe, dictated to a T.
- 1/2 kg Papa criolla
- 1 kg potato Kerr's Pink or mandel potato for example or any that melts easily
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 tsp dry coriander
- 1 tbsp liquid vegetable stock
- 1 liter of water
- 2 chicken fillets
- 2 corn in the cob
- Fresh coriander handful
- 4 tsp Guascas Cannot be replaced
- 1 tbs capers finely chopped
- Double cream for serving
In a deep pot with some oil and butter, lightly stir fry the onion, 1/2 dried cilantro, 1/2 dried Guascas and liquid vegetable stock with a sprinkle of salt and pepper stirring until soft.
Add the the whole chicken filets and brown them adding extra butter or oil if needed.
Add the potatoes cut in thin slices, the remaining cilantro and guascas, water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the potatoes melt. If the corn is fresh add now, if it is precooked separate the corn from the cob. Set the corn aside and add the cob the the pot to give corn flavour to the soup. Cook for approximately 30 minutes.
Stir vigorously but carefully in order to get the potatoes to blend into the soup and simmer for 5-10 mins.
Take the chicken out, shred it and put it back in the pot. If the soup is not thick enough you can finely grate 2-4 extra potatoes and add it to the soup and cook for 10 minutes more.
If your corn was fresh you can separate the kernels from the cob if you prefer ( I certainly do!) add it to the soup and do a final taste for seasoning and serve. If your corn was precooked and have corn set aside, add it now and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
Serve with chopped fresh coriander, chopped capers and a dollop of double cream white rice and avocado.