Latin Twist: Perfectly Warming Argentine Winter Stew

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Con este tremendo frío—with this amazing cold—I can only think of warming dishes. This, my friends, is one that will warm you inside and out! It’s a stew chock full of delicious layers…including chick peas, Lima beans, hominy, roasted acorn squash, and more. (Yes, there’s meat in this version, but you can leave it out and still have amazing flavor!)

Now I have to tell you that there are two main reasons why I’m sharing it with you today:

First, as we all realize, baby it is COLD out there (and this is the perfect warming stew!). You can start it tonight, and serve it all weekend!

Second, I’m “teaching” it tonight in my interactive cooking class in Don Coqui…and many have complained to me that the class sold out so quickly, they couldn’t get in. So, though  I can’t give you the class—I can give you a “taste” of it…

Though this dish takes some time—especially if you consider the soaking of the beans/hominy—it’s totally worth it. The combination of flavors is refreshing and satisfying on so many levels. Ah…you have to try it, and let me know if you concur. But I am sure you will! ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Locro (Argentine Stew)

Serving Size: Serves 12

Locro (Argentine  Stew)

This Argentine Winter Stew is perfect football fare! Keep it on the stove, and serve with Negra Modelo...or your favorite beer!

Ingredients

  • 2 small acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups dried, broken hominy, rinsed, and soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 1 cup dried lima beans rinsed, and soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas rinsed, and soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes (or to taste)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 pound Colombian (or your favorite!) cured chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal
  • 2 red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped scallions or coarsely chopped parsley leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.
  2. Halve the acorn squash.
  3. Take out the seeds, and place the halves face up.
  4. Place the butter and sugar—half and half—into the recess of each half.
  5. Bake for about an hour, or until the meat is tender, “basting” the flesh every 15 minutes with the butter and sugar.
  6. Once the squash is cooked and cool enough to handle, remove the skin and coarsely chop into 1-inch chunks.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Whisk together the oil, paprika, chile flakes and half the garlic.
  9. Heat a medium size stock pot.
  10. Pour the oil mixture over the pork shoulder chunks and mix well (you can also use this to marinate the meat!).
  11. Working in batches, add to pork to the pan, and cook, turning, until browned all over, about 10 minutes.
  12. Transfer to a plate.
  13. Add the chorizo and brown all over, about 5 minutes.
  14. Add remaining garlic and onion; cook until the onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  15. Add the red wine, and cook until it’s absorbed, about 3 minutes.
  16. Add the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and bay leaves and cook until it’s well blended, about 3 minutes.
  17. Drain the hominy, lima beans, and chick peas.
  18. And add them to the pot with the meat and 10 cups of water.
  19. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  20. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until hominy and beans are tender, about 2 hours.
  21. After about 1 hour, add acorn squash.
  22. Stir in the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
  23. Divide among bowls.
  24. Sprinkle with scallions or parsley and serve.
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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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