(If you’re new to cooking with dry beans, read up on everything you need to know about dry beans here.)
Locro is a hearty squash stew typically made with dried hominy. It originates from the indigenous cultures in the Andes, and is now adopted as the national dish of most countries in the Andes. It is a very flexible recipe and this is the Argentinian version. You can adapt
it to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
1 cup dried, broken hominy
1/2 cup dried lima beans
1/2 cup dried chickpeas
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp sweet paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1/2 lb veal shoulder, cut into 1″pieces
1/2 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1″ pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 oz cured chorizo, cut into 1/4” slices
1/2 large yellow onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced, about ¼ – 1/3 cup juice
Step One: Cook the base ingredients
Rinse hominy until the water runs clear.
Chickpeas take much longer to cook than the lima beans. The hominy adds a lot of body to the soup as it thickens up. If you cook it too early you might find the stew thickening up too much, too fast. I found that the easiest thing is to cook the chickpeas, lima beans and hominy separately and then combine them all into the soup at Step Three.
Or you can cook them in succession in the pressure cooker. Start with the chickpeas. Pressure-cook the chickpeas in 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes. Reduce the pressure, remove the lid and add the lima beans along with 2 more cups of water. Cook both beans for about 15 min. Reduce the pressure to zero again. Add the hominy and 2-3 cups water. Cook everything for 10 min. The hominy should be just barely tender.
If you do not have a pressure cooker, soak chickpeas and lima beans overnight. Soak the hominy over night as well, but in a separate bowl. Drain the water and put the beans in a pan with 4 cups of water. Cook for about 25-35 minutes and add the soaked hominy with an additional 3 cups water. Cook for another 20 minutes, until hominy is just tender.
If the soup is too watery, cook off the liquid or pour it off. If you pour it off, set it aside to add if needed at the end.
Step Two: Prepare the meat and vegetables
While the beans and hominy are cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients starting with the meat.
Cut the pork and veal into 1/2” – 3/4” cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. Slice the chorizo into 1/4” thick slices.
Whisk 1/4 cup oil, paprika, chili flakes, and two of the minced garlic cloves in a bowl; set sauce aside.
Dice the onion.
Peel and cube the squash. You can use any squash, but you should have about 2 cups of 1/2” cubes.
Heat the seasoned oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add to cubed meat to the pan, and cook, turning, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer cooked meat to a plate.
Add chorizo and cook until fat renders, about 2 minutes.
Once meat is cooked, add remaining oil to the pan and sauté the remaining garlic and onion until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
Add tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes.
Step Three: Put the soup together and season
Return meat to the pan along with the hominy, beans, chickpeas, squash. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. As the hominy cooks it thickens everything up. Add more water if needed.
The amount of time you cook depends on how tender you want the squash. If you cook more than 10 minutes, the squash will disintegrate and will become the base of the stew. This is a yummy way to disguise the squash if you have squash haters in your family.
But it also makes the stew a little sweeter, so you may want to adjust the seasoning. I personally like chunks of squash, so I just add it during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking and cook it just until the squash is tender.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Add lemon juice and remove from the heat. If you cook the soup any longer you will lose the lemon flavor.
Substitutions and Notes:
The meat is flexible. I’ve seen some recipes that just use pork or just Chorizo. Choose meat that your family likes and that fits your budget.
Veal is way outside of my budget, so I use an inexpensive round roast or whatever beef is on sale.
I prefer Andouille sausage to the Chorizo, but it’s not truly South American-authentic. Just don’t use a mild sausage. You want something that has a good kick of spice to it.
Dried hominy may a bit hard to find. None of our local grocery store chains carry it. I found it at an international grocery store, but you can also get it online. If you can’t find hominy, I have seen some recipes that use corn. It won’t be as hearty but it’s an acceptable substitute.
Even if you don’t like hominy, you should try it with the recipe at least once. The dried hominy gives it a nice, hearty, almost meaty texture and flavor.
You’ll want to add more lemon juice and salt when you reheat any leftovers.