On a trip to Colombia last year with our friends Sam and Marilu, we ended our journey in Bogota before flying back to the US. Marilu is from Cali, Colombia, and years ago she introduced us to this traditional speciality, Colombian ajiaco soup, a creamy, hearty, chicken and potato soup.
While visiting Bogota, we waited in line to get into the tiny, cramped restaurant, La Puerta Falsa, just to try their ajiaco and other specialities from Bogota. La Puerta Falsa,” the false door,” is located in an old brick colonial building and barely seats 20 people. It has been serving the specialities of Bogota, especially ajiaco and tamales, since 1816
The Colombian ajiaco soup is simple and made with three types of potatoes. The history and culture of the region and Colombia was built on the cultivation of the potato. One of the potatoes that is typically used in ajiaco is the papa criollo. To my knowledge, we cannot get that potato here, so I substituted a combination of baby red bliss potatoes, russet potatoes and golden potatoes.
The soup is made in three parts.
First, you need to cook the chicken. Then the potatoes are added and cooked until tender and creamy. Finally the broth is simmered with the small ears of corn, cilantro, and herbs until the flavors mingle and fuse.
One of the most important ingredients for making an authentic ajiaco is the herb, guascas.
Guascas has a grassy flavor and is part of the daisy family. You can either order it online or substitute oregano. Substituting the oregano is not quite the same, but it is the closest we can hope to get if we can’t get to Bogota.
The soup is traditionally served in a sizzling “chamba” soup pot. I used large deep soup bowls to get the full effect of the ajiaco. The hearty soup is typically served with a side of avocado, a small ear of corn, capers, and a dollop of sour cream. It is also served with rice which I omitted as I felt that the potatoes provided enough starch and carbs. I hope that you enjoy this soul satisfying and comforting hearty Colombian soup. Buen provecho!