Locro De Papa from Ecuador: A Creamy Potato and Cheese Soup

Locro de Papa from Ecuador is a creamy soup consisting of potato and cheese, flavoured with coriander and spices and topped with an abundance of fun garnishes. It makes for an excellent starter or a light supper.

Country Number 51: Ecuador

Our dish today hails from Ecuador, which lies along the north-western edge of South America. Ecuador is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, and falls across the Equator, with Colombia to the northeast and Peru to the southeast.

Ecuador is well known for being host to various UNESCO world heritage sites, such as the Galapagos Islands and the historicαl city of Cuenca. It also boasts Cotopaxi, the world’s highest active volcano, and an extensive biodiversity, with Amazonian rainforests and beaches in abundance.

History of Ecuadorian Cuisine

In consequence of its diverse landscapes, Ecuador has an extensive range of native ingredients. Seafood is common along the coast, the tropical regions provide various fruits, and the Andes provide crops such as quinoa, corn, and native potatoes in abundance. The spicy chilli hot sauce aji is a common condiment to many meals. Ceviche is popular, and soups and stews are often served with meals.

Popular Ecuadorian Vegetarian Dishes

  • Patacones – Fried plantain chips that can be served with a variety of toppings including guacamole and melted cheese.
  • Empanadas de queso – buttery cheese-stuffed pastries.
  • Llapingachos – potato pancakes stuffed with cheese and onions.
  • Locro de papa – potato and cheese soup.
  • Rosca de coco – a soft, brioche-like braided bread stuffed with a creamy coconut paste.

Making Locro De Papa from Ecuador

The dish we decided to make, locro de papa, is common in the Andes highlands or Sierra region of Ecuador. Quito, the capital city, has the biggest claim on the soup, as suggestive by its other name, locro quiteño.

As with many Ecuadorian dishes, the ingredients and preparation vary from region to region depending on what local ingredients are most at hand, such as fresh corn, greens, cabbage, sausages or chicken.

Locro de papa soup consists of a potato and cheese base, which makes it super creamy, hearty and delicious. It also is always served with lots of fun toppings, which makes the dish feel a little more subsantial than if it was just a bowl of liquid.

How to make Locro de Papa from Ecuador

  1. Make the refrito (base) by adding onions, garlic, and spices to a soup pot with oil and sautéing until tender, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the diced potatoes and toss to coat. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add water, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Mash the majority of the potatoes with a masher, leaving a few chunks. The consistency should be creamy with a few chunks of potato.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer, add milk and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Stir in cheese and coriander just before serving.

Ingredient notes for Potato and Cheese Soup (Locro De Papa)

  • Queso fresco – A white, generally unaged cheese made from fresh cow, goat or sheep’s milk. If you cannot buy this in your local store, you can make your own or substitute with a combination of feta and grated mozzarella.
  • Achiote powder – this red-hued spice is made from ground annatto seeds. You can find it in speciality stores, or substitute with smoked paprika if you cannot find it (although this is more for the colour than the flavour it provides).
  • Aji sauce – a hot sauce which varies from region to region in Latin America. You can make your own quite easily as you wait for the soup to cook, or substitute with another hot sauce or salsa of your choice.

Serving suggestions for Potato and Cheese Soup (Locro De Papa)

Serve topped with more crumbled or grated cheese, coriander, spring onions, sliced avocados, aji hot sauce and toasted corn kernels.

Potato and Cheese Soup (Locro De Papa from Ecuador)

Potato and Cheese Soup (Locro De Papa from Ecuador)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This Ecuadorian specialty, locro de papa, is a creamy soup consisting of potatoes, cheese, coriander, spices and topped with an abundance of garnishes. It makes for an excellent starter or a light supper.

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp achiote powder (sub for smoked paprika)
  • 3.5 cups water
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco, mozzarella, or feta
  • ½ bunch of fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

To serve:

  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, mozzarella, or feta, crumbled
  • Chopped coriander
  • Sliced spring onions
  • Sliced avocados
  • Aji hot sauce
  • Corn kernals, toasted

Instructions

  1. Make the refrito (base) by adding onions, garlic, cumin, achiote and a dash of salt to a soup pot with oil and sautéing until tender, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the diced potatoes and toss to coat. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add water, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Mash the majority of the potatoes with a masher, leaving a few chunks. The consistency should be creamy with a few chunks of potato remaining.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer, add milk and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Stir in cheese and coriander just before serving.
  6. Serve immediately topped with more cheese, fresh coriander, spring onions, avocados, aji hot sauce and toasted corn kernels.

Notes

Recipe Inspired by Laylita

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