Ajiaco, Colombian Potato Soup
Ajiaco is a Colombian potato soup with distinct regional recipes.
Ajiaco santafereño is named after Santa Fé de Bogotá (the former name of Bogotá) capital of Colombia, where it is a cultural mainstay. It typically contains pieces of chicken, large chunks of corn on the cob, two or three kinds of native potatoes (tiny papas criollas that fall apart and thicken the soup, and give the soup its characteristic dark yellow color; the waxy sabanera and/or the soft pastusa), and guasca (Galinsoga parviflora), a weedy, aromatic herb common in all America that lends the dish part of its distinctive flavour.
Giving definition to a “rib-sticking” soup, its emphasis on papas criollas (tiny, buttery, delicious potatoes whose starch acts as the most glorious of thickeners) along with the plethora of shredded chicken and whole chunks of corn on the cob.
The soup is typically served with table cream, capers and avocado all mixed in just before eating in the proportions each individual prefers. Ajiaco is so heavy that it is usually considered a full meal. In Colombian cuisine, this is the most representative dish of Bogotá.
Soups called ajiaco can be found in other regions of Latin America, though some share almost nothing with the traditional bogotano recipe apart from the name. The name is likely derivative of the word ají, a Taíno word for “hot pepper” which has become generalized in South American Spanish (equivalent to chile in Mexican Spanish). Though the modern Colombian ajiaco contains no ají, it is probably derived from spicier indigenous dishes.