The L Word – Squash & Lamb

2017.Oct.08 Sunday · 1 comment

in Food & Recipes

The classic locro of Peru is more squash based than anything. Surprising, since the origin of the dish starts with the papa cholo, from Peru. Typically called locro de zapallo, or, squash locro, it usually contains more than one type of squash, and that often varies by region. It also typically contains corn, cheese, and broad beans. The base locro here is probably the most common in the country. Meat of one sort or another may be added, but not always, it’s often served simply as a vegetable dish. I came across one version that used baby lamb chops coated in herbs, and decided to add those in, but they’re clearly prepared in a very modern way, not a traditional one. If I were to guess, more traditionally, if it was used, the lamb would simply be cut in pieces, seasoned, browned, and the herbs would just be added to the pot along with the pieces of lamb.


Starting in front at the left… Small white potatoes, puree of rehydrated mirasol chilies, huacatay, garlic, onion, fresh homemade cheese (not by us, by someone out at the Liniers markets), parboiled and peeled broad beans; then coming back the other way… parboiled corn on the cob (10 minutes in water with a little salt and sugar), butternut squash, kabocha squash – now that’s it for the traditional locro itself. Not pictured, a liter of chicken stock.

The “extra” in the back left – baby lamb chops with the rib bone trimmed off, leaving just the “t-bone” in the chop, and a mix of finely chopped huacatay, cilantro, parsley, breadcrumbs, and just enough butter to create a paste.


Peel and dice the squashes and potatoes. Chop the onions and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the huacatay (it’s not in the picture – it tends to wilt quickly, so I covered it and put it in the refrigerator. Ready, set, go…


In a little olive oil, cook the onions and garlic with a little salt until translucent, about 7-8 minutes over medium heat.


Add the chili puree and cook for another ten minutes, stirring more or less continuously.


Add the squashes and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the squashes are soft. Use a potato masher and just mash them around a little – not completely, you just want to break them up a bit.


Add the potatoes and continue cooking until they’re soft, about another 15-20 minutes.


It should look more or less like this. If the liquid reduces too much, just add a splash more stock or water. If you want to keep this vegetarian, use vegetable stock.


Add the remaining ingredients – the peeled broad beans (which have been parboiled in order to remove their peels), the corn, and the chopped fresh huacatay. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. This is the finished locro de zapallo itself.


Now, again, not traditional, but there were numerous recipes out there for various additions of different meats to the finished locro. This one just caught my eye because it was pretty…. And, we love lamb. Lightly season the chops with salt and pepper and then spread some of the paste on top of each.


Heat some olive oil in a pan until very hot, then place the chops in. Let brown on the underside for about 3-4 minutes. Then place in the oven, under the broiler for 3-4 minutes to lightly brown and cook through.


And, there you have them, glistening and ready. to serve along with the locro!




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