Recipeof the Week – Ecuadorian Potato Soup

ecuadorian potato soupThis wonderfully flavorful soup is also easy on the budget. We had a truly unforgettable trip to South America in October and one of the culinary highlights was fabulous ecuadorian potato soup. We found this recipe after we got home but it duplicates those great meals in Ecuador and brings back such good memories. We served it to friends on New Years Eve to rave reviews… but don’t wait for a special occasion. Add salad and crusty bread and you have the perfect winter meal. You might want to try  Tres Leche Cake for dessert but that’s next week’s recipe.
10 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp achiote powder (I found it with the Mexican foods in our local supermarket)
7 cups of water ( I used chicken stock)
1 cup of milk or more
1 cup grated or crumbled cheese – quesillo, queso fresco, mozzarella or monterey jack ( I used grated Mexican Cheese mix)
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, minced
Salt to taste
To serve:
1 cup of queso fresco, feta cheese, or grated mozzarella
Maiz tostado –just like Corn Nuts – In Ecuador they also frequently served popped corn with soup
Chopped scallions
Avocados, sliced or diced
Aji or hot sauce
Preparation:
1. Prepare a refrito or base for the soup by heating the canola oil over medium heat in a large soup pot; add the diced onions, minced garlic cloves, cumin, and achiote powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes to the pot and mix until they are coated with the refrito. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring a every couple of minutes.
3. Add the water/ stock and bring to boil, cook until the potatoes are very tender. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes in the pot, don’t mash all of them, the consistency of the soup should be creamy with small tender chunks of potatoes.
4. Turn the heat down to low, stir in the milk and let cook for about 5 more minutes. You can add more milk if the soup is too thick.
5. Add salt to taste
6. Add the grated cheese and cilantro, mix well, and remove from the heat.
7. Serve warm with the avocados, scallions, feta cheese and aji or hot sauce.

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