This potato and cheese soup is an Ecuadorian classic, although various iterations are found throughout Latin America. Some include smoky sausage or pork, and at different times of the year other ingredients such as cabbage, corn, sweet potato and pumpkin are added to the mix. It's served either as a chunky broth, or a smooth purée - this version is somewhere in between, with the potatoes mashed to thicken the soup while still retaining a little texture.
- 80 ml olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground achiote (see note), plus extra to serve
- 1.8 kg floury potatoes, such as sebago, coarsely chopped
- 250 ml milk (1 cup)
- 60 gm coarsely grated feta, plus extra, crumbled, to serve
- 60 gm coarsely grated vintage cheddar
- Coarsely chopped coriander and thinly sliced spring onion, to serve
- 4 long green chillies or 2 jalapeños
- 1 cup coriander (firmly packed)
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp aji amarillo paste (see note)
- Juice of 2 limes
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1For aji amarillo sauce, blacken chillies over a flame (or roast in a hot oven), turning occasionally (2-3 minutes), then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to steam (5-10 minutes). Peel chillies, coarsely chop and process in a food processor with coriander and spring onion until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, stir in remaining ingredients and season to taste.
- 2Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic, cumin and achiote, stir to combine, then fry, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and translucent (4-5 minutes). Add 1.5kg potatoes, stir to coat in the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Add 1.5 litres water, season to taste and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender (20-25 minutes). Coarsely mash or pulse the potatoes with a hand-held blender so little chunks of potato remain but the overall texture is creamy, then stir in milk, adding a little extra if necessary to thin soup to your preferred consistency. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then stir in cheeses and remove from the heat.
- 3Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add remaining potato and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and tender (6-7 minutes). Drain on paper towels and season to taste.
- 4Serve soup hot topped with fried potato, coriander, spring onion and aji amarillo sauce.
Achiote, or annatto, is available from Herbie's Spices (herbies.com.au) and Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au). Aji amarillo paste and chillies are available from Fireworks Foods and Tierras Latinas (tierraslatinasenaustralia.com).
Drink Suggestion: Juicy young tempranillo. Drink suggestion by Max Allen