Recipe: Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)

I’m sure there are a million locro recipes out there because it’s fair to say this is an everyday staple in almost every Peruvian household. The way I make it is not the way my mum makes it, nor the way my aunties make it, nor the way my mother-in-law makes it. This is one of the few dishes Alvaro insists on keeping meat-free, with a fried egg (or three) on top. Works for me.

Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)
Yield: 4 servings

Locro

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500-600g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 – 1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 0.5 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tsp ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • 0.5 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 200g goat feta cheeese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

To serve

  • white rice
  • 4 olives
  • 4 fried eggs
  • coriander leaves

Directions

  1. Peel and cube pumpkin and potatoes.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan at medium-low temperature.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ají amarillo. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add pumpkin and potatoes. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, then add stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until pumpkin and potatoes are falling apart. Feel free to mash them up as much as you want.
  6. Add corn and peas, cook for another couple of minutes.
  7. Turn off heat, add cheese, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with white rice, topped by a fried egg and garnish with an olive and coriander leaves.

Recipe: Seco de carne (Peruvian beef & coriander stew)

Lamb is not a very popular meat in my hometown. It is in the highlands, but for some reason the urbanites prefer beef. This is a beef version of the lamb seco I published a while ago. Now, I know that this will sound insane… but I decided to use kombucha instead of chicha de jora, knowing that a) the stuff is not cheap, and b) the cooking process kills the beneficial bacteria. But taste-wise it made sense. The result? I’d say I won’t be buying chicha any time soon.

I adapted this recipe from a very well known Peruvian chef. A quick note on tradition: this stew usually contains peas and is served with rice and potatoes or rice and beans. My mum used to serve it with rice and cassava prepared the way I indicate in the recipe.

Seco de carne (Peruvian beef & coriander stew)
Yield: 5 – 6 servings

Seco de carne

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg gravy beef, diced

Marinade

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/3 cup pisco or brandy
  • pinch of black pepper and cumin

Stew

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ají amarillo powder (or any other chilli, to taste)
  • 2 bunches coriander (leaves and stalks), chopped
  • 1 cup kombucha (or apple cider/gluten-free beer/white wine)
  • 1/2 cup grated pumpkin
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 2 oranges

To serve

  • cassava
  • butter or ghee

Directions

  1. Marinate beef with crushed garlic, pisco, pepper and cumin for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Drain beef (discard marinade) and brown in a heavy-bottomed pot with one tablespoon of ghee. Reserve.
  3. Lower heat, and in the same pot melt another tablespoon of ghee. Cook onion, minced garlic and chilli until very soft, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. While the aderezo is cooking, blend coriander with kombucha.
  5. Add pumpkin to the pot, cook for a minute, stirring often.
  6. Add meat, blended coriander, and stock to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and simmer covered until soft (1.5 to 2 hours).
  7. While you wait, boil cassava in water until soft. Drain and reserve.
  8. Add orange juice. Let reduce with the lid off if there’s too much liquid for your liking.
  9. Fry cassava in butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve.