This popular soup—a fun dish for a casual meal since the corn is left on the cob—is traditionally seasoned with the fragrant local herb guascas. Unfortunately, I've only rarely seen guascas in the States, so I use a combination of cumin and thyme, which approximates the real thing.
Fortunately, you can often find yucca, also known as cassava, at most major supermarkets. This root vegetable, native to South America and largely grown in Africa and the Caribbean, has a subtle sweetness, not unlike yams. If you can find it, try the variation. Serve with arepas (see page 575 of the book) or crusty bread.
1. Combine the butter and oil in a large flameproof casserole or saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter foam subsides, add the chicken and brown it, turning the pieces as they brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the cumin and thyme, followed by the potatoes and a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper; stir until the vegetables are coated with oil and spices. Add the chicken stock, bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover partially, and let the stew cook for about 30 minutes.
3. Add the corn and cook just until tender, about 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to crush some of the potato pieces against the side of the casserole to thicken the soup.
4. Divide the cream and capers among 4 serving bowls. Ladle the soup over the cream and capers, top with avocado slices, and serve immediately.
Ajiaco with Yucca
Substitute 1 large yucca, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, for 2 of the potatoes.
Page created 2005. Modified March 2007
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