Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We cooked again...Ajiaco (Columbian Stew)

So we made more soup. This one is my favorite soup.  We originally got this recipe out of the new york times. Theirs is an American adaptation of  the Columbian Stew Ajiaco. Why not make the real deal? Because we don't have easy access to some of the ingredients like different potatoes and an herb called guascas. The only downside is that it takes FOREVER to make but it's totally worth it. The capers and corn change the flavor into some kind of exotic pillow that could lull a colicky baby to sleep. Do yourself a solid and make this soup.

Here is the recipe:

Time: 31/2 hours

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
1 pound beef short ribs, rinsed and patted dry
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bunches cilantro, with roots if possible
2 russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1 1/4 pounds small Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large ears of corn, husked and cut into 1-inch rounds
3 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped scallion
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 habanero pepper, plus more to taste
5 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup capers with brine
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and diced, for serving
Sour cream, for serving.
1. Season the chicken and beef all over with salt. Let stand 15 minutes. In a large pot, combine the chicken, beef, onion, dried oregano and 2 teaspoons salt. Rinse away any grit from the cilantro (do not trim), tie one bunch with kitchen twine and drop it into the pot. Pour in enough cold water to just cover the meat (about 12 cups). Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large platter and let cool.
2. Stir in the grated potato. Continue to simmer until the beef is meltingly tender and the potatoes have melted into the broth, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the meat to a platter. Once cool enough to handle, shred the beef and chicken, and discard the bones, skin, fat and gristle.
3. Stir the chopped potato and corn into the pot. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, shallots and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Chop 1/3 cup of cilantro leaves from the remaining bunch and stir into this salsa. Wearing gloves, remove and discard the habanero seeds; finely chop the habanero and add to the salsa.
5. Return the chicken and beef to the pot. Stir in the spinach, capers and black pepper. Cook until the meat is warmed through and spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Ladle into bowls, topping with salsa, avocado and a dollop of sour cream.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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