Potatoes come from the Andes and have become a part of most of the world’s diets. There are 550 varieties of potatoes in Ecuador, though only about 30 are cultivated and consumed regularly. In this hands-on cooking class, we use two varieties of potatoes, chaucha and chola, to make the ultimate potato soup, “locro de papa” in Spanish, following the traditional Ecuadorian recipe. We also add some unconventional ingredients such as quinoa and Andean lupin (chocho), plus the ever-present cheese and avocado. To accompany this delicious soup, we make hot chili sauce using a volcanic rock grinder. Become a locro expert and surprise your friends back home!
This class is conducted in collaboration with Chef Francisco Larco from Galería Café Restaurante.
Chef Francisco’s recipe (serves 4)
600 g chola potatoes, peeled
200 g chaucha potatoes, peeled
1.5 litres hot water
3 tbsp. achiote oil (or any vegetable oil)
3 scallions, chopped
1 cup milk (optional)
Salt to taste
Cheese & avocado (to serve)
1. Peel the potatoes
We use two types of potatoes: chola and chaucha. The thick consistency of the soup will come from the chaucha potatoes, which “disolve” when cooked. Chola potatoes will be the chunks that keep their shape. So first, we peel the potatoes and cut them into uneven small cubes or chunks. Any potato will do, but in Ecuador we have the option to choose from many varieties.
2. Scallions & achiote sauté
Many Ecuadorian dishes are characterized by a yellow color which is given by the achiote (annatto) oil or paste. This soup is no exception. The base of the soup is made with chopped scallions and achiote oil. Sauté the scallions (green onions) about 5 minutes without burning them. If you can’t find achiote, use any vegetable oil of your preference.
3. Add the potatoes, water & salt
Put the potato chunks in the pot and mix well with the onions. Add hot water and salt to taste and let it cook at medium heat for about 20 minutes.
4. Mash the potatoes
Mash some of the potato chunks to create a thick consistency. You can use a wooden spoon to lightly mash the potato against the pot. The chaucha potato would have disolved at this point. Cook for another 20 minutes at low heat.
5. Optional: add milk
Some people add whole milk for a cremier texture. If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, we recommend just using water. The soup will be rich and filling enough!
6. Serve & enjoy!
Traditionally, we serve the soup with a slice of avocado and cheese chunks. Other popular toppings are: quinoa, spinach, pumpkin, lupin beans, broad beans, and pork rind. Don’t forget the chili sauce!