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Herbs brighten a comforting and colorful South American potato soup
Milk Street Bowtie Paprika-Cumin Potato and Bell Pepper Soup

Paprika-Cumin Potato and Bell Pepper Soup

1 hour 10 minutes

Paprika-Cumin Potato and Bell Pepper Soup

Free

With a smooth, creamy consistency and sunny color, the potato soup known as locro de papas—variations of which are found in both Ecuador and Peru—is both humble and elegant. For richness, it often is made with both milk and cheese, but we skip most of the dairy to keep the flavors lighter and fresher, adding queso fresco at the end as only as a garnish. Locro do papas gets its yellow-orange hue from annatto seeds (also called achiote), but we achieve a similar color by using red or orange bell peppers and a good measure of sweet paprika.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 red or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves reserved separately
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
Crumbled or grated queso fresco, to serve
Diced avocado, to serve
Ingredients
  • 2
  • 1

    large white onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 3

    red or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced

  • 1

    bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves reserved separately

  • 1

    bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 2

    tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 1

    tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2

    pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice

  • Crumbled or grated queso fresco, to serve

  • Diced avocado, to serve

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Comments
  • Michele R.

    Does anyone know whether this potato based soup can be frozen?

    0 votes
    1 comments
    • Craig R.

      Yes, it freezes fine.

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • Deirdre C.

    I served this delicious soup with the Sesame Scallion Bread. It went together beautifully.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Craig R.

    I've made this soup twice now, and it's fantastic. I substitute 1 Tbsp of achiote paste for 1 Tbsp of the paprika, to make it a little more traditional. Also I've roasted the peppers first (remove skins before chopping) for extra hint of smoke.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Michele R.

    Comes together easily enough for "school night" meal and delicious enough to serve to guests. Another Milk Street "keeper". Notes: 1) In the 'stock or water' option I chose home made stock - seems simple ingredient recipes are the place to let that flavor shine - otherwise I would have used water as boxed stocks aren't 'my thing' for flavor. 2) Potatoes took under 20 min to cook - not 40ish of recipe guideline. 3) Immersion blender worked well for the end puree. 4) Next time I'll probably peel the potatoes. Also probably omit the avocado garnish but use all the others as they were "it" as finishing flavor and presentation.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Lisa B.

    Loved this soup. Great flavor and we really like the smooth, dense, but not creamy consistency. Heartier than I expected before realizing it is, of course, potato soup. Served with a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on a multigrain bread - delicious combo of flavors and textures. I used leftover mashed potatoes since I had them around and worked well. Kept the cooking time about the same in case that was important for flavor, just added the potatoes close to the end. Next time will roast the peppers - that additional flavor sounds like it will make even better.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Karen O.

    Great answer for lunch with a house full of adults and kids (7 total) during the pandemic. Russet potatoes are inexpensive and easy to get right now. I happened to buy a very large bag of them as all of this craziness got started. I also happened to have some yellow bell peppers hanging around for too long on the counter. Everyone loved this soup and some chose to have grilled cheese on sourdough with it. Really grateful for all the soup recipes on this site at a moment like this! I'm finding that soup is an excellent lunch option with plenty of nutrition for everyone.

    0 votes
    0 comments
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Paprika-Cumin Potato and Bell Pepper Soup

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

1 hour 10 minutes

Tip

Don't peel the potatoes. The skins add an earthiness that complements the other flavors. If using a conventional blender, make sure to allow the potato mixture to cool for about 10 minutes before pureeing and don't try to puree all the soup mixture in a single batch.

Ingredients
  • 2
  • 1

    large white onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 3

    red or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced

  • 1

    bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves reserved separately

  • 1

    bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 2

    tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 1

    tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2

    pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice

  • Crumbled or grated queso fresco, to serve

  • Diced avocado, to serve

Step 1 of 4

Combine Ingredients In Dutch Oven

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
large white onion, halved and thinly sliced
3
red or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
1
bunch cilantro, chopped, stems
1
bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites
6
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2
tablespoons sweet paprika
1
tablespoon ground cumin
2
pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
2
quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water
Kosher salt

In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell peppers, cilantro stems and scallion whites.


Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 9 minutes.


Add the garlic, paprika and cumin, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the potatoes, broth and 1 tablespoon salt.

Step 2 of 4

Cook Potatoes

Bring to a boil over medium-high, then cover, reduce to low and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, about 40 minutes.


Remove from the heat and cool for about 10 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Blend Mixture

Using a blender and working in batches, puree the mixture until completely smooth.


(Alternatively, use an immersion blender and puree directly in the pot.) Return the soup to the pot and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Step 4 of 4

Finish and Serve

2
tablespoons lime juice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1
bunch cilantro, chopped, leaves
1
bunch scallions, thinly sliced, greens
Crumbled or grated queso fresco, to serve
Diced avocado, to serve

Off heat, stir in the lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup topped with the cilantro leaves, scallion greens, queso fresco and avocado.

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Paprika-Cumin Potato and Bell Pepper Soup

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