A good ‘locro’ - a popular South American stew - requires dedication, affection and time. It is quite labour-intensive, but the results are a satisfying winter comfort food.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 300 g (10½ oz) fresh chorizo, roughly chopped into chunks
- 300 g (10½ oz) speck or smoked pork belly, thickly sliced
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) beef brisket, chopped into large chunks
- 2 brown onions, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 3 corn cobs, each cut into 4 pieces
- 400 g (14 oz) tin cannellini (lima) beans, drained and rinsed
- 400 g (14 oz) tin hominy, drained and rinsed (see Note)
- 300 g (10½ oz) all-purpose potatoes, chopped into chunks
- 300 g (10½ oz) sweet potatoes, chopped into chunks
- 200 g (7 oz) pumpkin (winter squash), skin-on, seeds removed and chopped into chunks
- 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- large handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
- 125 g (4½ oz) lard
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. To make the quiquirimichi, combine the spring onion, parsley, oregano, spices and tomato paste in a heatproof bowl. Melt the lard in a small saucepan over high heat. When smoking hot, pour the liquid lard over the ingredients and stir until well combined. Season and set aside for the flavours to develop. This can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, for 4–5 minutes, until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the speck to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 4–5 minutes, until brown, then add to the chorizo. Repeat with the brisket but keep it in the pan once browned and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2–3 minutes, until the onion has softened, then stir through the paprika and cumin and cook for 1 minute, until aromatic.
3. Return the chorizo and speck to the pan, then add the tomatoes, bay leaf and 800 ml (27 fl oz) water, stirring to remove any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir through the corn, beans and hominy and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, then cover and cook for 1 hour. Stir through the potato, sweet potato and pumpkin and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the vegetables and meat are tender.
4. Serve in bowls with the quiquirimichi on the side.
• Hominy are dried corn kernels that have been put through the process of nixtamalisation (whereby they are cooked in an alkaline solution) and can be purchased online or from Hispanic grocers.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99