Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Like no other

For about a month now my favorite potato has been seen in the market – but there are few of them and too many know of their exsistence.

I am talking about the Papa Amarilla an Andean native grown in this country by a few adventurous, high altitude farmers. Those of us who know this particular spud covet its meaty taste (actually it tastes like chicken), golden yellow hue (it makes a Yukon golden look sickly) and creamy interior (that seems to be pumped with butter). It is tuber that has no other to compare it to – oh, sure a fingerling, blushing Desiree or tiny new potatoes have their place and satisfy a dish’s execution this denizen of South America’s mountain top markets holds up all by itself.

Now, I am ready to concede that this potato is not as available as its third cousin twice removed, the russet, but well worth the journey to find it. If you ever wondered what a potato could taste like this is the one to sample. After procuring three pounds of these special, starchy gems I am putting up a base soup to take me through the winter. I freeze quarts of this potato soup to which I can later add cheese, avocado or chorizo sausage depending on my mood.

Papa Amarilla Soup – yields approx. 5 quarts

3 pounds papa Amarilla (a South American variety of potato)
2 pounds onion (approximately 3 medium sized)
2 heads of garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the potatoes well to remove any dirt and debris. Then slice the potatoes thinly and place them in at least a 16 quart soup pot. Peel and quarter the onions. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Place them in the pot along with the potatoes. Pour over 3 quarts of water (12 cups), and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the flame to a simmer. Cook the soup for 1 hour. Puree the soup, and then return to the pot and correct the seasoning.

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