Ajiaco celebrates a key crop in the Andes Mountains region, where more than 4,000 potato varieties are grown. There are three types in this soup. Cookbook author and food stylist Mariana Velásquez uses russets to stand in for Sabanera potatoes, which practically dissolve into the broth, giving it body. Yukon Golds and tiny creamer potatoes replace Pastusas and Criollas—the former lends a golden hue and the latter a sweet, almost buttery flavor. Guascas—a fragrant herb also known as galinsoga, gallant soldier or potato weed—imparts a slightly bitter taste unmatched by anything else, Velásquez says. (Look for it dried online or in the few Colombian markets in the U.S.; you can also find it fresh at farmers' markets.) The soup takes her back to her childhood in Bogotá. She remembers one Friday each month being "Ajiaco Day" at her all-girls school. "They would bring the bowls of broth to each of us and then place the avocados, corn, chicken, capers and cream in the center of the table," she says. "It was the most special lunch and we all loved it."

EatingWell Magazine, March 2022


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

35 mins
2 hrs 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine chicken, potatoes, scallions, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large pot. Add cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool. Discard the scallions and cilantro.

  • Continue simmering the soup, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes have started to dissolve, 50 to 60 minutes more. Add guascas and continue cooking until the consistency is thick and creamy but still has some chunks of potato, about 10 minutes more.

  • Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add corn and return to a boil. Cover, turn off heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

  • When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into large pieces. Serve the soup topped with the chicken and corn, cream, capers and avocado.

Nutrition Facts

1 3/4 cups
483 calories; protein 38g; carbohydrates 57g; dietary fiber 8g; sugars 4g; fat 13g; saturated fat 3g; cholesterol 105mg; sodium 574mg; potassium 1333mg.