Ajiaco Bogotano (Potato Soup with Corn, Chicken & Capers)
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."