Locro Soup

Chef Christopher Koetke

This typical Ecuadorian soup is one of my favorites when I travel to this small South American country. I like it for its simple flavors and for the fact that it is a thick, satisfying potato soup made in the birthplace of the potato. The combination of avocado and potato soup is delicious!

Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6+

1 ½ lbs. pork shoulder (meat and fat) cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon annatto seed
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup finely minced onion
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Serrano chile, seeds removed, and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup whole milk
1 lb. queso fresco, crumbled
2 avocados, halved, pit removed, and thinly sliced

1. In a pot, combine pork, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and annatto seed. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the pork is very tender (about 1 ½ hours). When it is done, remove the pork and dice. Reserve the pork and the cooking liquid. Strain the liquid to remove the annatto seed and bay leaf.
2. In a large saucepan or stockpot, sauté onion in butter over moderate heat. Cook until very soft.
3. Add potatoes and chile and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
4. Add the pork cooking liquid and cumin to the potatoes. Add additional water to cover the potatoes completely.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes).
6. Using a potato masher, crush the potatoes such that some are still intact. Add the reserved pork and milk to the soup and cook until the pork is hot. Taste for seasoning.
7. To serve, place avocado in a bowl. Pour soup into the bowl and sprinkle with queso fresco.