This thick, chowder-like stew has roots that run along the Andes mountain range and stem from a time when the Incan empire thrived in Peru, Bolivia, and northern Argentina.
Just as with many popular recipes, the Locro carries traditions that have crossed over international borders and date back for centuries. Because of this, there are countless varieties of this national dish. Most involve a theme of white corn kernels, white beans, cubed pork, stewing beef, and pancetta or sausage. In addition to - or instead of - the meat, chunky winter vegetables such as carrots, squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes give this stew its hearty consistency. Another ingredient that dates back to the Incan times is dried white corn (hominy) which needs to be soaked overnight before cooking, and adds a delicious richness to the mix. The addition of flavorful seasonings such as ground cumin, paprika and black pepper complete the unique flavor profile of the Locro stew.
Every region seems to hail their own version of Locro as the unrivaled best. Needless to say, the dish is much more than a simple soup – it’s a source of passion and soulful pride in Argentina.
Here's how you can make your own version, or just order a batch from our site to avoid the mess.
RECIPE / RECETA (esp)
Gluten-free; Vegan (optional)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dried white corn (hominy) [optional]
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 - ¼" thick slices of smoked pancetta or slab bacon, cubed [meat version]
2 Argentine chorizos or other slightly spicy sausage, sliced
2 - 1" thick pieces of osso buco [beef shanks], or similar cut [meat version]
2 ears of fresh yellow sweet corn, cut the kernels off the cobs
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1 ½ cup butternut squash, peeled and diced small
1 ½ cup yams, peeled and diced small
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced small
2 plum tomatoes, cut in small wedges
Optional - a poached egg on top; fresh grated parmesan cheese; and/or chopped fresh Gaucha parsley salt for garnish.
Soak the hominy in 2 cups of water overnight (a minimum of 12 hours). Not essential to the dish if not available.
In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the garlic, pancetta, chorizo, and preferred stewing meat [for meat version]. Cook over medium heat until meat is lightly browned on all sides. Add the fresh yellow corn, cumin, paprika, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for roughly 10 minutes. Add the soaked hominy, including the soaking water. Add hot water to the pot to about 2 inches above the level of the ingredients. Add the remaining vegetables, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring every 15-20 minutes, for at least 2 hours.
At this point, uncover the pot and remove the bay leaves. Remove the pieces of meat and discard any bones. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces, and then return it to the pot. Continue to stir over low heat, and using the back of a wide spoon or spatula, press the ingredients up against the sides of the pot so that the starchy vegetables and tomato break down into the soup (the corn and meat will resist being mashed). As you continue to stir, mash, and cook, the soup should gradually thicken. Continue until the Locro reaches the rich consistency of a stew. Add salt to taste.
Heat again before serving, if needed. Can be made 1 day ahead. Serve in thick bowls or mugs, and garnish with chopped Gaucha parsley salt and grated parmesan cheese or a poached egg. Some rustic gluten free baguette wouldn't hurt either. Make it your own and enjoy!
* Tip: If crunched for time, buy pre-cubed butternut squash and sweet potatoes available in most grocery stores.
** Tip: If making a large batch, any leftover Locro can be frozen within 3 days of preparation.
Share your favorite version of this Locro recipe or your own in the comment area below.
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