Ajiaco + Patacón

December 24, 2012

It’s holiday season and all of our friend’s are heading back home to celebrate Christmas and this means there are dinner parties and potlucks every other evening.

A few days ago we were invited to a dinner party where our friend Luis, made two Colombian specialties called Ajiaco, a  dark yellow creamy potato soup and Patacon, a snack of twice fried crispy plantains. And to go along with the Latin theme of the dinner, I made passionfruit truffles for dessert.

Ajiaco (ahi-ah-co)
Ajiaco is typically made with three types of native Colombian potatoes – Pastusa, Sabanera and Criolla used in a ratio of 1:1:2, but Luis used three types of French potatoes (red, yellow and white) from the local market that looked closest to the ones originally used. The potatoes are cooked with chicken stock and a herb called guascas until they begin to fall apart and make the soup thick and creamy. Pieces of corn on the cob are thrown in as well. Finally, to serve the soup is topped with shredded chicken, avocado, cream and capers. I’d never think of avocado as a soup topping,  but hot creamy potato soup with cold creamy avocado? Genius.

I think the key to the soup is letting the potatoes cook slowly. Because when I offered Luis my trusty Indian pressure cooker that’d help quickly boil the potatoes for the soup, he flatly refused, “the potatoes have to be cooked slowly over a few hours.” Oui Chef.

We ate the ajiaco with the fantastic bread called Pain des Amis from Du Pain et Des Idées.

Ajiaco Recipe

Stock
Bones of 1 chicken
1 leek
1 carrots
1 onions

Roast the chicken bones in an oven Preheated at 200C for 20 minutes, making sure to turn the bones halfway. Remove from the pan and add the bones to the stockpot with the leeks, carrots and onions. Add enough water to cover the bones and vegetables completely.  Place the roasting pan (that hold the leftover juices of the chicken) on the stove top on medium heat and deglaze with water; add it to the rest of the stock. Simmer for 40 minutes. Strain, squeezing all the stock out through the bones and vegetable. Set aside.

Soup
Stock (reserve some to correct consistency)
800g potatoes (read above)
2 big chicken breasts
1 spring onions/scallions
Corn
Salt

Cook all the potatoes in water with salt, the chicken and the whole spring onion for 1hr. Once it comes to a simmer, add the chicken and cook until done, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and let it cool. Discard the spring onion. Reduce the heat to low, pour the stock in and continue to simmer with the pieces of corn for 30mins or until tender. Blend a bit of the soup so that it’s smooth and creamy and correct the consistency with the rest of the stock.

Toppings
Chicken ( cooked in the soup, shredded)
Avocado, quartered
Capers
Thick cream

To serve, pour the soup (still hot) and a piece of corn on the cob into a bowl. Spoon over all the topping and eat up!

Patacón (paa-taa-con)
This is a deep fried plantain snack where you typically deep fry the whole plantain until light golden, then smash it up to flatten and then deep fry it again. It’s had as a side dish or appetizer (and that’s just what we did). The patacón we made is much smaller because we cut them up into 2 inch pieces so as to fry them in a smaller saucepan.

We topped the crispy, golden patacón with guacamole. Here’s a photo. A little bit of reading up on Colombian recipes threw up this hot sauce called Ají that looks pretty good too.

Of course, everybody helped themselves to seconds.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cinnamon Vogue December 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Looks lovely. These twice fried plntains must be nice and crispy. But I still prefer those passion fruit truffles. :-) Merry Christmas Shaheen.

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2 Luke Neoh December 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM

We have plantains in Malaysia but we usually make crisps…..must try your patacon recipe. Your pix shows something meaty – like a delicious chunk of chicken breast. Happy New Year and post more pix and South American recipes

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3 aeleen November 8, 2013 at 5:15 AM

The distinct flavor of ajiaco is given by the guascas so I’m curious to see how close your recipe is to the original. Is this your friend’s recipe or did he actually use guasca?

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4 Shaheen November 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM

This is my friend’s recipe without the use of guasca.

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