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SEASONS

Locro

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
October 7, 2009

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Serves 8

Made with many kinds of pork, usually in enormous quantity, Locro is an Argentinean specialty. I learned about this hearty South American dish from Graciela Casais, a native of Buenos Aires and longtime resident of Argentina’s wine capital, Mendoza. A mother of four whose heritage is Italian, Casais makes locro for Sunday supper in a 15-gallon pot for family, in-laws, and neighbors; everyone goes home with leftovers. This adaptation calls for three types of pork. Casais’s signature technique of shredding squash into the pot adds a lot of body to the dish. I season locro with hot sauce at the table, but the Casais clan, like most Argentineans, prefer more subtle flavors.

1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1/4 pound pancetta, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 fresh chorizo sausages (about 1 pound)
1can (16 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (16 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed with cold water
4 ears fresh corn, shucked, cobs cut into 1-inch pieces
8 cups water
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Using a box grater or the grating attachment on a food processor, shred the entire squash; set aside.

2. In a large stockpot over low heat, render the pancetta.

3. Turn the heat to medium. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Stir in crushed pepper and paprika. Continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the spices mellow.

4. Add the squash, pork, chorizos, white beans, tomatoes, barley, corn, water, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, set on the cover askew, and simmer the stew for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the meats and barley are very tender.

5. Remove the chorizos from pot; slice each into 4 pieces. Return to the pot.

6. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick