Updated: Jan 13, 2022
LOCRO DE PAPA (Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese soup)
Thoughtfully made, and shared by Mireya.
“No hay segundo sin sopa” … For most Ecuadorians, there is no main dish without the first and most important one: soup. In the Andean region, Locro de Papa is one of the most traditional and loved soups. It is a hearty potato and queso fresco (fresh cheese) recipe, always served with avocado, chulpi or tostado (toasted Andean corn) and ají (hot sauce).
Below is the classic one: a favorite among young and old, vegetarians and omnivores. Variations to this recipe include Yaguarlocro (with blood sausage), Locro de Cuero (with pork skin) or Locro de Habas (with Andean lima beans).
What you'll need:
10 medium sized potatoes (Ecuadorians use a starchy type of potato called chola - I recommend using Russet potatoes)
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 white or yellow onion diced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp achiote (annatto) powder (achiote is used in Ecuador to add color to foods – can be replaced with paprika *optional)
7 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup of milk or half & half
1 cup grated or crumbled queso fresco (cotija cheese works – there is an organic queso fresco made here in Vermont that is exquisite – can be found at City Market)
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, minced
Salt to taste
Ready? Let's get started!
Step one: To prepare a “refrito” by heating the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
Step two: Add the chopped white or yellow onions and minced garlic.
Step three: Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, for about 3 minutes.
Step four: Add the cumin and achiote. Cook for about two more minutes.
Step five: Add the peeled and chopped potatoes (small and large pieces) to the pot and coat them with the refrito. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Step six: Add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are very tender.
Step seven: Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes in the pot.
The soup should be creamy with small tender chunks of potatoes, so don’t mash all of them.
Step eight: Turn the heat down to low, stir in the milk or half & half and let cook for about 5 more minutes. You can add more milk if the soup is too thick.
Step nine: Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step ten: Add the grated cheese and cilantro, mix well, and remove from the heat.
Serve warm with sliced avocado, minced green onions and cilantro, small pieces of queso fresco, chulpi or tostado, and aji.
We hope you will enjoy this amazing and cozy meal!
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