Locro is a thick stew associated with the Cuyo region of Argentina. The Northwest and Cuyo are a part of Argentina where we can still find a lot of dishes heavily influenced by Andean-Incan indigenous food traditions. The locro is just one of many dishes in this region that contains both corn and potatoes. Other examples of commonly utilized produce in this part of the country is quinoa, alcayota (a type of squash), tomato, bell pepper and batata (sweet potato).
The name locro is derived from ruqru, which is the stew’s name in Quechuan. Quechuan is a language family spoken in the Andes, and the main language of the Inca Empire belonged to this family.
Locro is made with corn, beans and potatos, and sometimes also with alcayota and other vegetables. If available, one or several types of meat is definitely included. Since the Spaniards introduced cows to Argentina, this meat has often been beef, but pork and pork-beef sausages are also popular. Many different part of the animal can be used, including muscle meat, meaty bones and various entrails. The potato used for locro should ideally be of the variety papa chola, but it can be diffocult to obtain outside its home region. If alcayota can’t be found, it can be substituted with squash or pumpkin.
Locro is chiefly eaten during cold winter days, including May 25 when the May Revolution of 1810 is celebrated. Argentinians fond of spicy food will add quiquirimichi to their bowl of locro to feel even warmer. This is a red hot sauce containing both cayenne pepper and paprika.
Locro recipe (yields 12 servings)
1 kg dried white corn kernels (if you can’t obtain this, use fresh yellow corn, and skip the soaking of the corn)
1 kg dried white beans
1 kg of beef with bones
1 kg of cubed stewing meat (beef or pork or a combination)
¼ kg bacon, cut into small cubes
5 chorizo sausages
1 small alcayota, peeled and cubed
3 medium potatoes (preferably papa chola)
3 medium sweet potatoes
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
- Place corn and beans in water i a big pot and let them soak for 12 hours.
- Take out half of the corn and beans and set aside.
- Add beef with bones, stewing meat, bacon, and chorizo to the pot where half of the corn and beans are soaking in plenty of water. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and let the stew simmer until the meat is pretty tender. This is a slow-cook dish, so expekt this part of the recipe to take at least six hours.
- When the meat is pretty tender, add the corn and beans that you set aside earlier. Also add the alcayota cubes, potato, sweet potato, salt and cayenne pepper. Cover the pot and leave to simmer for another 2-3 hours, stirring once in a while.
- Pour into soup bowls and serve. Serve quiquirimichi on the side so your guests can add spicyness to the locro according to their own preferences.