When I saw a recipe for Locro de Papa, a potato and cheese soup from Ecuador, on The Schizo Chef's website, it appealed to me on a number of levels. Obviously, it had my globecooking radar twitching, but it is also a quick and simple winter warmer that uses nothing but a few store cupboard basics. I thought it would be quite bland but it's actually lovely and spicy, even just with some bog standard grated cheese from the back of the fridge ! Here's my tweaked version but do head over to see the original, made with genuine Ecuadorian cheese.
Locro de papa
1 clove garlic
a drizzle of chilli-infused olive oil
1/2 tsp each of cumin, smoked paprika, chilli and Mexican oregano, salt
a couple of handfuls of grated cheese
3tbsp sour cream
to serve : 2 tomatoes, grilled onions, grated cheese
Gently fry the onions and garlic in the oil. You want them to go soft, not brown.
Toss in the spices and salt.
I had some Mexican oregano, but regular would do. I also used some of my Mapuche Indians Spice Mix, which contains chilli and coriander, but regular chilli powder would work just as well.
Chop the potatoes into small cubes (I didn't bother peeling them) and add to the pot, then just cover with water.
Cook for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are al dente.
Use a stick blender to reduce to a puree but leave some lumps of potato in there.
Add the cheese.
And the cream (this wasn't in the original recipe so could be left out) and give it a stir until the cheese has melted and the cream mixed in.
Serve, topped with chopped tomato, dried grilled onions and a final sprinkle of cheese.
The extra toppings give it a lovely blend of flavours and textures and it's a surprisingly satisfying soup, made with next to nothing, so it's perfect for when the cupboards are looking bare and you've forgotten to defrost something for dinner !
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