Caldo verde de Cajamarca – Cajamarca's green soup

Caldo verde de Cajamarca - Cajamarca's green soup


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I drove over bumpy dirt roads, through torrential rain and along steep precipices for eight hours to try this soup in the historic city of Cajamarca. Although it is traditionally made with paico and ruda herbs, which are native to the Peruvian Andes, you can use parsley and pak choi. The egg and cheese provide protein, making it a filling main course.

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of paico leaves, or a small bunch of parsley and a small bunch of mint
  • 1 bunch of huacatay, or a small bunch of coriander and a few tarragon sprigs
  • 1/2 cabbage, or 4 heads of pak choi, approximately 150g
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 4 eggs, seperated
  • 200g of queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
  • salt
  • pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the onion and sauté over a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1–2 minutes to soften
Meanwhile, put all the herbs in a blender with a little water and blitz to a smooth paste
When the onion and garlic are ready, add half the herb paste to the pan with the onion mixture, along with the cabbage or pak choi and the potatoes. Stir to combine, then pour in 1.5 litres of water and season well with salt and pepper
Bring the soup to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes are very tender. Remove the casserole from the heat and spoon off 2 ladlefuls of stock into a small saucepan over a low heat
Whisk up the egg whites a little and swirl into the casserole of hot soup, then stir in the remaining herb paste and keep warm
Carefully drop the egg yolks into the small saucepan of broth and allow them to poach gently for 2 minutes until warmed through but still runny. Serve up the soup in individual bowls, carefully adding a poached yolk to each bowl (1 yolk per person) and sprinkle with the crumbled cheese
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