Locro is a hearty thick stew popular along the Andes mountain range. The dish is a classic Ecuadorian cheese and potato soup from the Ecuadorian cuisine. This is also a dish in Peruvian cuisine, which at one point held the centre of the Inca empire. It typical also in Argentina prepared by the different native Indian tribes at the time of the Spanish conquest. Its origin dates to before the Spanish colonial times.
The defining ingredients are corn, some form of meat (usually beef, but sometimes beef jerky or chorizo), and vegetables. Other ingredients vary widely, and typically include onion, beans, squash or pumpkin. It is mainly eaten in winter.
In some parts, such as in the Santiago del Estero Province of Argentina, a red hot sauce made from red peppers and paprika known as quiquirimichi is served on the side.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 750 g (1.5 lb) beef stewing steak, cut into cubes
- 1 x 400g (14 oz) can of peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground white cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 150 ml (1/4 pint) beef stock
- 2 tablespoons of paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder or to taste.
- 1 x 400g (14 oz) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 125 g whole chorizo sausage, sliced thickly
- 200 g can of sweetcorn, rinsed and drained
- 75 g mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of masa harina or yellow cornmeal, optional thickening.
- Heat the oil in a large pan or Dutch oven and sauté the onions and garlic for 4 minutes or until softened and slightly coloured.
- Reserve the onions, increase the heat and brown the beef, a handful of pieces at a time.
- Add the onions back to the pan, together with the tomatoes and their juice. Also add the lemon juice, stock, ground spices, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- Stir in the cornmeal to thicken if needed. Add the chorizo, chick peas and sweetcorn and simmer for a further 30 minutes
- Transfer to serving bowls and dot with pieces of mozzarella cheese.
Serve with crusty bread.
I'm not sure about the authenticity, but plain tortilla chips were a marvellous accompaniment to this dish.
We used the (frozen) second half of the locro to make a sort of South-American Teviot pie! Whilst not the least bit authentic, it was rather delicious. The potato dumplings were rolled in yellow cornmeal and laid on the top of the locro and covered with slices of mozzarella cheese. This was oven baked for 30 miutes or so at 180° C (350° F - gas 4).
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