Locro de papas, is a traditional, if not ancient, high Andean stew made with as much variation and diversity as the people, languages, and cultures of the Andean mountains. I’m sure this stew differs from town to town, if not kitchen to kitchen. The only ingredients that appear to be in all forms of Locro include: potatoes, salt, and avocado. That is it. So, I decided to use a fortunate primary source in recreating this ultimate comfort food, who indulged in this dish almost daily for close to two years. My husband lived in Ecuador, with an Ecuadorian family, and with an abuela who was a particularly amazing cook. Her specialty: Locro. She also apparently had a wicked talent for starching underwear, but that is a different story all together.
This experiment with Locro purely relied on the taste and visual memory of my husband. With guidance such as, “a little more creamy”, “a little more salt”, “they served the potatoes whole and not diced like that picture”, and “they always had a cheese and hot chili sauce on the table to add right before you eat”, we were able to more or less recreate Abuelita’s recipe for an authentic Locro. I did add a couple extras that are not necessarily traditional, yet not unknown to Ecuador: cilantro and lime. Lime, avocado, and cilantro are my holy trinity so this only made sense to me.
Locro de papas
8 new potatoes, 4 of them cubed, 4 remain whole
3 spring onions, diced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
6 cups water
½ cup light cream or whole milk
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs butter
Any type of fresh cheese you can find: queso fresco/fresh mozzarella/goat cheese.
ripe avocados (1/4 per bowl)
*optional lime and cilantro
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, melt oil and butter together. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add the 4 cubed potatoes, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add water. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are very tender. Once tender, mash and incorporate potatoes into the broth, leaving chunks is fine. Stir in milk and add the whole potatoes. Simmer over low heat until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, approx 30 minutes.
Serve each portion with 1 whole potato. Top with ¼ avocado, a lime wedge, some queso fresco, and cilantro. Serve with a variety of your favorite chili sauces family style at the table.
We did both with cheese…
and without….but always with lime and cilantro…
This is such a fun way to cook, I highly recommend blind cooking with your partner sometime. Try and recreate a favorite dish from your travels or childhood, purely on memory, and it is amazing how instincts can guide you
My Ecuadorian friends, you know who you are, send me your variations!
Cook together, toast to each other, and share!