The L Word

Locro is a stew, a classic, staple dish that, while often associated with Argentina, is far more widespread. Versions of locro can be found throughout South America, particularly anywhere that there’s an influence from the cultures that spoke (or speak) the Quechua language. In fact, locro is a name derived from the Quechua “ruqru” or “luqru”, which originally was a traditional stew centered around the papa chola, a particular type of potato with bright yellow flesh and a pinkish skin, but over time has come to refer to a wide variety of stews based on potato or corn or wheat or beans.

There are dozens and dozens of recipes from virtually all of the South American countries for different types of locro. I doubt I’ll ever get to try all of them, nor even make all of them, but here are my adventures in the kitchen doing the latter. Before anyone writes me to tell me how my recipe doesn’t match your grandmother’s, let me just point out that your grandmother’s recipe doesn’t match your best friend’s grandmother’s recipe either. I’ve spent the time researching, and generally take anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen different versions of the same recipe and try to both distill them down to their essentials, but also use the bits from each that intrigue me.


  Locro criollo – Probably what most folk here in Buenos Aires think of when they think of locro – a stew of dried cracked white corn, squash, a few other vegetables, and a mix of types of sausages and meats, both pork and beef. Generally not spicy, with just a hint of cumin and sweet paprika in it.

Locro de patitas – a variation on the more common locro criollo, and a personal favorite. Unctuous, gelatinous pig’s feet in a stew of dried cracked white corn, sweet corn, potato, sweet potato, squash, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bacon, cured spicy chorizo, cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper, and bay leaf.

Locro de trigo – instead of the more typical corn or beans, this one is based around whole wheat berries, and includes skirt steak, pork bones, bacon, and fresh chorizos, along with onion, chili, white butter beans, salt, and sweet paprika. I didn’t do a step-by-step writeup, with measurements, but you can get a solid idea of how to do it at the linked post.

Locro de choclo desgranado – here, fresh sweet corn is the star, and even a little non-traditional corncob stock emphasizes the flavor. The whole thing tends a little sweet, with carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes, the fresh corn, grated off the cob, onion, globe zucchini, stewing beef, salt, and hot paprika.



Locro de papas – A vegetarian version of locro from the heart of Ecuador. One of the simplest of locros I’ve found so far, with just potatoes, onion, garlic, chili, and vegetable stock in the base, and finished off with some cream (or milk), egg, and cheese. Avocado is a traditional garnish, or mix-in, at the last moment.



Locro de zapallo (con cordero) – A squash based locro that’s traditional from the Amazon basin mountain regions of Peru, usually containing more than one kind of squash, plus corn, onions, garlic, and broad beans. Generally it’s mildly spicy with a puree of ají mirasol or ají amarillo, and uses a mix of herbs, the most prominent being huacatay, or Amazon black mint.



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