In Peru, this elegant soup is made with camarones, freshwater crayfish found in small rivers and irrigation ditches. American freshwater crayfish or fresh shrimp may be substituted.
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1–2 fresh mirasol or other hot chiles,seeded and minced
2 tbsp. panca paste (sweet red chile paste)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 lb. freshwater crayfish or large unpeeled shrimp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Idaho potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 ear corn, husk removed, cut into 4 rounds
1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. acorn squash, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 small head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
1/4 cup long-grain rice
1/2 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
2 oz. queso blanco or farmer's cheese, diced
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, chiles, and panca paste and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cumin and shrimp or crayfish, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning, until shrimp are pink and firm, about 1 minute more.
2. Stir in 7 cups water, then add potatoes, corn, carrots, squash, cabbage, and rice. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove cover, stir in peas, milk, and cream (if using), and simmer until milk and cream are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in oregano and cheese and serve.