Recently I read in a Peruvian food portal that locro and empanadas unite Latin American cuisines. There are certainly several other dishes that are common to our countries but according to the article, those are the first two dishes that were created as a fusion of native Latin American and Spanish ingredients. Don’t know if it’s true, but makes sense.
What is definitely true is that a dish can have the same name across countries and be entirely different. This is the case of locro. The Peruvian version is based on a variety of pumpkin called macre, which is less sweet and more yellow in colour than common Aussie pumpkins, but in general any pumpkin will do. It belongs to the category of home weekday dishes because it’s easy to make the sweet and non spicy taste is suitable for kids.
Locro is usually served with chunks of beef but both Alvaro and I prefer it with lots of cheese and a fried egg on top instead.
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium red onion
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon huacatay paste (optional)
1/2 medium to big pumpkin
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cob sweet corn
1 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
200 gr queso fresco, Haloumi or feta
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
Chop onion and garlic finely.
Chop pumpkin in small cubes (1/2 to 1 cm).
Cut the kernels off the corn cob.
Cube or crumble the cheese.
Put oil in a big sautée pan or pot over low heat. Cook onion, garlic for 5 to 10 minutes, until very soft. Add optional huacatay paste and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Add pumpkin and stock. Cook for 10 minutes or so, until tender. Then add corn and peas and cook until they’re cooked and the pumpkin cubes have lost their shape.
Add cheese and milk, cook it for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted down a bit. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a fried egg on top, and white rice and something green on the side.