Chilean-style grilled steak soup

Leftover grilled meat is the basis of Chile's ajiaco, a soup which shares its names with many other, very different soups across Latin America. This version comes from cookbook The Chilean Kitchen.

Three strong cultural factors converge to create this delicious grilled steak soup. The first is the weekend tra­dition of the asado (barbecue) in Chile. The second is that any Chilean host would be horrified if the spread they put out were meager, so there are always plenty of leftovers. The third one is that we’ll make soup out of pretty much anything that stands still.

Leftover grilled meat is the basis of Chile’s ajiaco, a soup which shares its names with many other, very different soups across Latin America. Do not bring this soup to a boil, following the instructions of the older generation who would tell you that your pot was getting away from you (se te está arrancando la olla) if they came upon it bubbling furiously. A simmer is best.

As a summer alternative, we might skip the soup-making and serve leftover barbecued meat as a salpicón salad, where cubes of leftover grilled meat are tossed with lettuce, cooked carrots, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, or red pepper. ~Eileen Smith + Pilar Hernandez

Reprinted from The Chilean Kitchen: 75 Seasonal Recipes for Stews, Breads, Salads, and Cocktails, Desserts, and More by Eileen Smith, Pilar Hernandez, and Araceli Paz (2020) with permission from Skyhorse Publishing. Click here to purchase your own copy.


  • 1 pound grilled flank steak
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced in ¼-inch thick rounds
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 6 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup chopped parsley

Serves 4


  1. Cut the meat into 2-inch-long strips.
  2. Peel the onion, then cut lengthwise and slice thinly.
  3. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the onion. Cook 5 minutes.
  4. Add the carrot and bell pepper, and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the paprika, hot sauce, and oregano. Add the broth, carrots, pepper, and potatoes, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Scoop out half of the potatoes and mash well, return them to the soup, and add the meat and any of its juices.
  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve hot with parsley sprinkled on top.
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