(a soup from the Andes)

1 (3 lb.) chicken, cut into small pieces
2 quarts cold water
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
1 pound tiny boiling potatoes, peeled and halved
5 ears corn, cut into 2-inch rounds
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed in cold water
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced or cubed
1 packet (0.35 ounces) dried guascas (available at Latin American markets)


In a heavy 5-quart pot, combine the chicken and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the scum that rises to the surface. Add the onion, bay leaf, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low; cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Transfer the chicken to a platter. Remove the onion and strain the stock through a fine sieve. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Cut the chicken meat into strips. Return the strained stock in the pot to a boil over moderate heat; add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Mash them against the side of the pan until the soup is thick and fairly smooth. Add the corn and chicken and simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the tenderness of the corn. Add the packet of guascas and stir.

To serve: Pour 3 tablespoons of cream and 1 teaspoon of capers into each of 6 deep soup bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowls and float the avocado on top.

This recipe from serves/makes 6

AFTER AJACO ...............................


1 Lb. ocean perch or red snapper fillets, cut into bite-size strips 
1/2 Cup red onion, very thinly sliced 
 Juice of 4 large limes or lemons 
3 Cloves garlic, minced 
1 Tsp. hot pepper sauce 
1 1/4 Cups unsweetened coconut milk 
 Chopped cilantro 


 Place fish strips and onion slices in glass bowl. Cover with lime juice, stirring to coat well. Cover and refrigerate until fish is ìcookedî or opaque through the center, about 3 to 4 hours. Drain off lime juice and discard.
 Combine garlic, hot pepper sauce, coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste in separate small bowl; pour over fish. Cover and refrigerate an additional 2 hours for flavors to combine.
 Divide into 6 small bowls or wine glasses; sprinkle with cilantro. Serve cold on lattuce leaves.