When most people here in Buenos Aires think of dried white corn or cracked corn, they think of a hearty, savoury meal with lots of vegetables, beans, meat and spices. In winter, we serve a variety of corn stews, soups, stews, noodles, salads, sandwiches, desserts and much more.
Locro is usually served with bread, but depending on the spices and herbs you can play with it. We generally use a variety of spices, of which the huacatay (Amazon mint) is the most famous, but there are generally a number of other spices such as cumin, cayenne, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, paprika, black pepper and more.
Locro can also be served as a side dish, as an appetizer or as part of a meal. This wonderfully practical torn paste of ingredients is sold in many Hispanic grocery stores and is generally mashed with fresh Amarillo devein (a seeded, fresh Amarillos are put in a pot if they don’t get it, or simply replace a can of jalapeno peppers or add a little salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and / or a pinch of coriander.
Traditional pubs often make Locro with organ meat or tripe, but you can defy tradition and leave it at that. You can use ground beef, deer, chorizo, sausage or ribs, and some families choose pork, while others prefer beef. If you get it, you should use a combination of pork and beef meat, as well as huacatay (Amazon mint).
Cucurbita moschata (known in English as calabaza) is the main ingredient in the recipe I use, as well as Zapallo pumpkin and Huacatay. If you live in South America and can get it, it is available in many local markets near you.
Since the Spanish brought the cow to Argentina, the meat is often beef, but pork and deer are also popular.
Sausages are often generously garnished with native ingredients such as corn and pumpkin, but green vegetables may not play a major role in the traditional diet. A squash-based loco, the most common type of loco in Argentina, usually contains a variety of pumpkins such as the Zapallo Macre or the orange pumpkin. This special one is traditionally made from the South – American orange squash that is hard to find in their home country. The recipe also includes the varieties grown in South America and created in the USA by crossing the two types of squash. These varieties are grown for their sweet and spicy flavour and texture.
Locro is a thick, savoury soup traditionally made from corn, other vegetables and meat used by the locals. Some variations of locro add fresh corn to the soup, others add chopped cabbage or leafy vegetables.
For one thing, sweet potatoes have a colour and sweetness that can easily be replaced by pumpkin from which to make locro. Fresh corn is the star here, and the flavour is accentuated by the addition of sweet potatoes and a hint of salt and pepper, as well as a little garlic.
The best thing about locro Zapallo is that, although it is a very light meal, because it is mainly vegetables, if you feel something is missing, you can mix it up and take it to another level by adding beef, lamb or chicken. If you have a large family, locro is the ultimate scalable dish, whether you’re cooking for a block party or just adding it when needed.
Add the chopped pumpkin, butternut and potato cubes to sweeten the flavour. Then add mash, beans, baby corn and corn on the corn cob for texture.
If you are making Locro yourself, Once you have finished roasting the meat and taken it out of the pan, turn off the heat and add the chopped garlic and onions and fry for about a minute. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, herbs and cumin, add stock and cook for about 5 minutes. When the water of the potatoes becomes slightly opaque, reduce to medium heat, add 1 / 2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt and then 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pumpkin is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Turn off the heat, cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked to perfection (the time will vary depending on the hardness of the vegetables used). Form the pumpkin into a mash and cook, partially covered, for about 20-30 minutes until both the pumpkin and the pumpkin fall apart. This is a good time to cover the pots and not let them dry out, but don’t be afraid to turn them off for a few minutes to dry them out.
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