With Old Man Winter peering creepily from around the corner, we're on the hunt for hearty, healthy dishes that provide a lot of leftovers and allow us to hunker down for days. NYT food reporter Melissa Clark heeds our call with her interpretation of ajiaco, a Colombian chicken and beef stew/soup that's great for dinner parties and even better for a family meal. Check out the recipe below.
Colombian-Style Chicken, Short Rib and Potato Stew
Time: 3 1/2 hours
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
1 pound beef short ribs, rinsed and patted dry
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bunches cilantro, with roots if possible
2 russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1 1/4 pounds small Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large ears of corn, husked and cut into 1-inch rounds
3 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped scallion
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 habanero pepper, plus more to taste
5 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup capers with brine
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and diced, for serving
Sour cream, for serving.
1. Season the chicken and beef all over with salt. Let stand 15 minutes. In a large pot, combine the chicken, beef, onion, dried oregano and 2 teaspoons salt. Rinse away any grit from the cilantro (do not trim), tie one bunch with kitchen twine and drop it into the pot. Pour in enough cold water to just cover the meat (about 12 cups). Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large platter and let cool.
2. Stir in the grated potato. Continue to simmer until the beef is meltingly tender and the potatoes have melted into the broth, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the meat to a platter. Once cool enough to handle, shred the beef and chicken, and discard the bones, skin, fat and gristle.
3. Stir the chopped potato and corn into the pot. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, shallots and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Chop 1/3 cup of cilantro leaves from the remaining bunch and stir into this salsa. Wearing gloves, remove and discard the habanero seeds; finely chop the habanero and add to the salsa.
5. Return the chicken and beef to the pot. Stir in the spinach, capers and black pepper. Cook until the meat is warmed through and spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Ladle into bowls, topping with salsa, avocado and a dollop of sour cream.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.