Turbo Thursday – Locro de Papas, aka Equatorian Potato Soup

This hearty potato soup is a divining concoction of Equatorian origin. It’s fresh and filling at the same time and a perfect lunch or dinner when a gloomy day strikes and you want something warming, quick and delicious.

Potato soup doesn’t sound too tantalizing does it? But in fact this will be far from all the potato soups you’ve ever had before. I guess many of us have horrible memories of the soups served in school which tasted like diluted mashed potatoes; far too watery, far too little salt and far too much taste of a failed attempt of doing something with last weeks leftover potatoes.

I came across this soup when the best girl, Cecilia, and her Equatoran boyfriend invited me over for lunch on a cold, rainy day a while back. It is so much fun experiencing food from other cultures, I would never have had the chance to eat Locro de Papas if I hadn’t befriended them. You sort of get the true, authentic feeling when you stumble into someone’s home and they serve you food.

I recreated the recipe a few days later in my own kitchen and this is the final result. It’s creamy, hearty and has a marvelous taste with a lot of cumin. Don’t chicken out on the cumin – it should really be a lot and it should preferably be freshly ground. The toppings make this soup complete, it adds different flavours and textures that balances the soup in a great way. If it wasn’t for the trimmings this soup would be kind of lame – so all the toppings mentioned in the recipe are mandatory.

As you probably understand this is a Turbo Thursday recipe which takes no more than 20 minutes to cook. I find it kind of a delight when quick cooking and big flavours gets together in a soup like this. It doesn’t always have to take eons of time to cook up a feast. Enjoy!

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Locro de Papas – Equatoroan Potato Soup – 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Soup
600 g floury potatoes i.e. King Edward (5-6 pieces)
200 g yellow onion (1 big)
3 garlic cloves
4 tsp whole cumin
500 g water (5 dl)
115 g cream (approx 1 dl)
Neutral oil
Cayenne
Salt

To serve
Avocado
Mozzarella
Spring onion/leeks
Cilantro/coriander
Fried onion

Preparation:

Soup. Peel and chop the onion. Bring a pan up to medium heat, add a splash of oil and fry the onion for about 3 minutes or until soft and translucent. You don’t want the onion to start coloring, so turn the heat down if there is an indication of roasting. Put the cumin in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. Peel the potatoes and the garlic. Dice the potatoes and finely chop the garlic, add them to the pan together with the cumin and fry for another minute or two. Add water, cover the pan with a lid and bring the soup up to a boil. Let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked through. The time required could vary depending on the size of the potatoe bites. Mix the soup roughly with a stick blender or use a potato masher to roughly break down the bigger potato bites. But don’t mix it too much; this is a rustic soup and you still want some bits and pieces in there.Bring the pan back on the stove and add the cream. Season with salt and just a tiny pinch of cayenne.

To serve. Pour the soup into bowls and add sliced avocado, mozzarella and spring onion. Roughly chop the coriander and sprinkle over the top. As a final touch throw some fried onion over and enjoy!

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