Monday, January 28, 2008

Ecuadorian Potato Soup

I realized a couple of weeks ago, though, that although I make a variety of foods and a lot of different cuisines, there are nationalities that have not yet been represented in my kitchen. So when I saw this recipe for Ecuadorian Potato Soup in the Jan/Feb 08 issue of Cooking Light, it caught my attention. It has somewhat bizarre ingredients - lots of egg, avocado, annatto seed?? What is annatto seed? I was intrigued, so I decided we would have it.

First things first: Where do you get annatto seed? I stopped by Penzeys to get a small jar of it, along with some other spices and herbs we needed, but if you don't live near a Penzey's store, you can order it through their website. It was not ground, so I had to grind it in my mortar and pestle that I got for Christmas. Annatto seed is a red seed that is frequently used in processed foods to create orange coloring. So I nearly cried when my beautiful marble pestle got stained orange after I used it - the first time I've ever used it. But I looked online for how to clean it, and even though it is still orange, I have realized that it is normal for a mortar and pestle to turn colors as you use it. But I am still sad.

Now, how was the soup? It was delicious!!! We were really surprised. It really is an entirely different flavor than I have had before. I can't compare it to anything - it's not like Mexican food or Caribbean food or anything. It's just its own unique flavor. We liked it a lot. And even though there is egg on top, it works really well. We would definitely make this again.


Ecuadorian Potato Soup
Cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground annatto
4 cups fat-free milk, divided
1 large egg yolk
4 cups (3-inch) cubed peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 hard-cooked large eggs
1/2 cup sliced peeled avocado
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
Hot pepper sauce (optional)

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and annatto; sauté 30 seconds.

Combine 2 tablespoons milk and egg yolk. Chill. Add remaining milk, potato, cilantro, and jalapeño to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Partially mash potato mixture with potato masher.

Stir 1/4 cup potato mixture into egg yolk mixture. Return potato mixture to pan; stir in salt and black pepper. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove egg yolk from 2 hard-cooked eggs; coarsely chop egg whites and whole hard-cooked egg. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 2 teaspoons chopped egg mixture, about 1 tablespoon avocado, 2 teaspoons cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon jalapeño. Garnish each serving with hot pepper sauce, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

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