LOCRO DE PAPAS (SOUTH AMERICAN POTATO SOUP)

 

  • Cooking Time:
  • Servings: 6
  • Preparation Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 rounded tsp. annatto (achiote) seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 ½ lb. russet (baking) potatoes
  • Rounded ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 ¼ tsp. salt
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups coarsely grated queso fresco or queso blanco
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados

Directions

  • Chop the onion. Set aside.
  • In a small, light-colored saucepan or skillet (not one with a black bottom), heat the annatto seeds and oil over low heat, swirling the pan often, until the oil is bright red-orange and barely simmering, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • While the annatto oil is resting, fill a large bowl with cold water. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¾-inch chunks, dropping them into the bowl of water as you go. The water will help to prevent discoloration.
  • Pour the annatto oil through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a large (7-8 quart) pot, discarding the seeds. Warm the oil over medium-high heat, and add the onions and half of the potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the water, stir to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 25-30 minutes; then mash the potatoes into the broth. (I used an immersion blender.) Remove the remaining potatoes from their bowl of water, drain them well, and add them to the pot. Simmer, partially covered, until they are tender, about 20 minutes more. Stir in the milk and the cheese, and increase the heat to bring the pot to a simmer again, stirring. Remove from the heat.
  • Cut the avocados into small cubes or slices. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with avocado, and serve.
  • Yield: About 6 servings
  • The soup had a fairly subtle but wonderful flavor. It’s not a fancy soup; it’s a comforting, bone-warming one. I highly recommend you try it when you notice that cold weather is headed your way . . . or when you’re not feeling so great.
  • (Oh, and as a side note, if you live in the US and want to try this soup recipe, but you live somewhere rural where you think you could not find annatto/achiote seeds, send me an email with your snail mail address at sally(dot)parrott(at)gmail(dot)com. I’ll send the first person who writes me a request the two rounded teaspoons you need to make a pot of this stuff! By the way, I wish I could send it overseas, but I’m too po’ for that. Sorry!)

Notes

Locro de papas

Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet, February 2007

Orangette is one of my favorite food blogs. I have to stop myself from making every sweet thing she offers up recipes for (she can’t eat much of them, given how thin she is!), but I love the way she writes about food. Her description of a hearty winter soup had me hankering to try it. Dan loooooooves soup, so I decided to give it a go.

But first . . . first I had to find the annatto (or achiote) seeds. We went to a local food co-op. No luck. Whole Foods. No luck. Publix. No luck. Finally we gave in and drove out to an international farmer’s market outside Atlanta. At last! 20 round-trip miles and 57 cents later, we were set.

The soup had a fairly subtle but wonderful flavor. It’s not a fancy soup; it’s a comforting, bone-warming one. I highly recommend you try it when you notice that cold weather is headed your way . . . or when you’re not feeling so great.

(Oh, and as a side note, if you live in the US and want to try this soup recipe, but you live somewhere rural where you think you could not find annatto/achiote seeds, send me an email with your snail mail address at sally(dot)parrott(at)gmail(dot)com. I’ll send the first person who writes me a request the two rounded teaspoons you need to make a pot of this stuff! By the way, I wish I could send it overseas, but I’m too po’ for that. Sorry!)

Categories: Main Dish  Misc. Soup/Stew  Potato  Soup  Stove 

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