According to my sources, “locro” is a squash/pumpkin stew. I discovered this Bolivian gem in a little fair trade cookbook that I picked up at a yard sale in Baltimore. It’s a self-proclaimed “chunky cook book” called Vegetarian Main Dishes from Around the World. Chunky though it may be, (the book is about 4×6 inches), it is a treasure trove of simple, flavorful vegetarian recipes. And locro has become my favorite. I’ve made it over the past few winters, each time using whatever squash/yam/potato ingredients I have on hand, and it always comes out wonderfully rich and delicious. And healthy, to boot.
squash, pumpkin or sweet potato, peeled and diced (quantities are up to you. I always make a lot and then freeze).
1 onion, diced
1 can tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1-2 cobs or corn, or frozen corn
1/2 cup lima beans, butter beans, or edamame (you could probably substitute any green bean)
1/2 cup peas (I use frozen)
1 cup feta cheese (I usually use less feta, but go for it!)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
One of the best things about this stew is how easy it is to throw together. Once you have your squash/potato/whatever diced, you can soften it in an inch or so of water, or steam it, just so it starts to get tender. (I have made this stew with combinations of butternut squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, and regular potato. Any combo is terrific).
In the meantime, saute your onion in the oil in a large pot or deep saute pan. After the onion is softened, add the canned tomato, oregano, and salt and pepper.
Add the slightly softened squash to the onion and tomato mixture, and add water to achieve your desired thickness (this is meant to be a thick stew, so don’t go overboard with the water), and raise the heat to bring it to a simmer.
Throw in the frozen or fresh peas and corn, and bring mixture back to a simmer.
As with most soups, the longer you let it simmer, the better. When you are ready to dig in, add the feta cheese before you remove the stew from heat. Stir it in and let it melt and thicken the stew. Then ladle into bowls and top with fresh herbs.