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Ajiaco (Colombia Chicken & Potato Soup)

Ajiaco is a typical soup in Colombia with chicken and potatoes. Its unique condiments makes this soup one of my new favorites.
Course Ethnic
Cuisine Colombian
Author Adapted from by Tania Sigal, Fine Cooking - Issue 60


For the soup:

  • 3 lb. cut-up chicken skin removed, rinsed well
  • 1 large white onion 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 2 ears fresh corn cut crosswise into quarters
  • 2 ribs celery 1/2-inch-diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 3/4 lb. yucca root peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3/4 lb. Idaho potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 lb. small red potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt; more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried guascas or oregano

For the aji:

  • 4 scallions white and light green parts only
  • 1 medium tomato peeled and seeded
  • 1 small white onion peeled
  • 2 fresh habanero chillies or jalapeños stems and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the garnishes:

  • 2 ripe avocados peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup small capers rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Make the soup:

  1. Put the chicken in a large (at least 8-quart) stockpot and add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, frequently skimming off the foam that floats to the surface.
  2. Add all the vegetables, the garlic, the cilantro, and the bouillon cubes to the pot, along with the salt and pepper. Stir a few times to distribute the vegetables and submerge as many of the solids as possible. When the broth returns to a gentle boil, partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring once or twice, for 1-1/2 hours. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
  3. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, pick out the chicken pieces and put them on a large plate. Stir the soup with a large spoon, breaking up some of the potatoes to thicken the soup slightly. Keep hot if serving soon or let cool and refrigerate.
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones and shred it by hand. Discard the bones and tendons, and put the shredded chicken in a serving bowl.

Make the aji:

  1. In a food processor, pulse all the aji ingredients until they’re finely minced. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve the ajiaco:

  1. Put the avocados, sour cream, capers and cilantro leaves in small bowls and set them on the table along with the bowls of shredded chicken and the aji. Reheat the soup if necessary and ladle it into large soup bowls, putting a quarter ear of corn in each bowl. Let your guests add the garnishes and the aji as they like.

Recipe Notes

Serves: 8

The soup and the aji can be made a day ahead.