For some reason, this month’s food magazines had me drooling. I may have been starving when I was flipping through, but I bookmarked almost every recipe. One in particular caught my eye – a lighter, healthier version of Ajiaco, the traditional Colombian Chicken Soup.
I know what you’re thinking. Chicken soup? Booooring! But this isn’t your mama’s chicken soup (though I would never, ever turn that down). This one is flavored with cilantro and cumin, is chock full of chicken, potatoes and corn, and in this case, asparagus and hominy. Everything is topped off with diced avocado, more cilantro and capers. It’s simultaneously light and hearty, and it’s really, really good.
I just wish I’d had a bowl of this when I was sick last week. Good thing I froze a huge batch for next time I’m feeling under the weather, though let’s face it – it’ll be gone by next week.
Ajiaco: Chicken, Corn & Potato Soup
Adapted from Food & Wine, May 2009.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast and thighs
6 green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 ears of corns, shucked and cut into 2-inch rounds
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
7 cups chicken stock
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large potato, skin-on and diced (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups)
1 15 oz. can White Hominy (or 1 cup cooked brown rice)
1/2 lb. asparagus, hard ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 Hass avocados, diced
1 tbsp. capers
Set a large pot over medium-high heat and heat the oil. Once it’s hot, brown the chicken on all sides, then add the garlic, green onions, corn, cumin, cilantro, cayenne pepper and chicken stock. Let it come to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a plate and shred it by using two forks to pull the pieces apart. Return the chicken to the pot and add the potatoes. Simmer until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the asparagus, hominy and lime juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper and salt to taste.
Ladle from the bottom of the pot into big bowls. Garnish with cilantro leaves, avocado and a few capers.
Makes 8 – 10 servings.