I can’t think of a dish that is more emblematic of Quito than Locro de Papas or Potato Soup
In Ecuador, a locro is a thick soup, almost a stew, and it’s base is potato, specifically the papa chola, a large, starchy, reddish skinned potato with a pale yellow to white flesh. In the United States, you can replace the Papa Chola with Russet potatoes for this recipe.
You’ll find Locro de Papas in any restaurant offering Comida Tipica but it is super easy to make at home. Although it is offered as an appetizer, for many it is hearty enough to make an entire meal. And it’s one of the few dishes on an Ecuadorian menu that is almost guaranteed to be vegetarian. I’ve asked many people for their personal recipes and not one used any kind of meat stock to make this soup nor any kind of lard to sauté the ingredients.
Locro de Papas was also the first soup I’ve eaten that included chunks of cheese and slices of avocado. At first, the combination threw me. I couldn’t imagine the flavors blending very well, especially the creamy avocado with the creamy soup. But was I ever wrong. I am now tempted to add avocado to many more soup dishes as the combination is divine!
Locro de Papas
- 3 pounds Papa Chola or Russet Potatoes
- 1 large white onion
- 1 tablespoon achiote oil
- 1 cup of milk, whole milk preferred
- 1/2 cup whole cream
- 1/2 round of queso fresco (fresh cheese, found in most American grocery stories)
- avocado, 1/2 per person being served
Prepare the ingredients; dice the white onion; peel and dice the potatoes; dice the cheese into 1/4 inch pieces.
Saute the onion in achiote oil until golden and opaque.
Add potatoes and saute for a few minutes before adding enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil.
Cook until the potatoes are falling apart.
Add milk and cream. Heat through without bringing to a boil. Add cubed fresh cheese.