I have been on a soup kick lately and recently discovered locro, a hearty mountain potato chowder from the Andes. Mr. Dashing’s aunt made locro during her stay here a few weeks ago and I just loved it! Here in the midwestern U.S., the nights are getting colder and I have craved hot bowls of this thick nourishing soup.
Determined to duplicate the recipe, I made the soup below to rave reviews of family. In South America, there are many variations of locro. This is the Ecuadorian version that is typically served with cheese and avocado.
However, since several family members are lactose intolerant, this version was made without milk. The soup was thickened by mashing the potatoes. Cheese may be added to individual soup bowls for those that want it. This soup is also a great base to add spinach or other ingredients.
Potato and Avocado Soup (Locro de Papas) Serves 3 – 4
- 2 teaspoons of annatto (achiote) seeds (available in a Mexican/Latin American grocery store)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes (Yukon gold or similar)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- avocado slices for garnish
- chopped cilantro for garnish
- 3/4 cup of queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) or mozzarella cheese, diced
Step 1: Peel the potatoes and dice roughly half of the potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes. Cut the other half of the potatoes into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes. Store the potatoes in bowls of cold water until needed to keep them from discoloring.
Step 2: In a small sauce pan, simmer the annatto seeds in the oil over low heat. Strain the seeds from the oil and discard the seeds. The annatto oil will be a bright red-yellow color.
Step 3: Heat the annatto oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the oil until soft.
Step 4: Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 5: Drain the bowl of diced potatoes and add to the pot. Sauté the potatoes with the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper.
Step 6: Add the stock and bring to a boil at medium high heat. Then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer on low heat, partially covered for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Step 7: When potatoes are soft, smash them in the pot with a spoon.
Step 8: Drain the bowl of the larger cubed potatoes and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook partially covered on low heat until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir soup occasionally while cooking. Add additional stock or water if the soup gets too thick.
Step 9: Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup in individual bowls. Add a handful of diced cheese to the bowl. Garnish soup with sliced avocados and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!