A locro is a thick soup, almost a stew, which is very popular in South America; most countries have their own version of a locro and are very different from one place to another, the corn locro from Argentina is very different than the potato locro from Ecuador or a squash locro from Peru. A lot of these delicious locros are usually very chunky, some add meat, but in Ecuador a locro is more on the creamy side, most Ecuadorian locros include potatoes, which are mashed in the soup to thicken it and give it that creaminess.
This locro is made with habas or fava beans, which are very popular in Ecuador, especially in the highland region, where they are usually served for breakfast sautéed with mote or hominy, other types of beans, onions, achiote or annatto powder, cumin and other spices and served with a nice big piece of cheese. Most of the time the fava beans are only peeled once (removed from the main pod) but the individual beans are left with the outer skin on and once cooked they have more of a brownish color than the bright green that is associated with a fava bean. For this soup I did peel the fava beans twice, I added half of the beans at the beginning so that they could cook until soft and then mashed them a little with the potatoes, the other half of the beans were added at the end in order to have some whole and colorful beans in the soup. Other key ingredients for Ecuadorian locros are queso or cheese and milk, sometimes eggs , which are added towards the end, and like pretty much every other Ecuadorian soup chopped cilantro is added at the end, oh and don’t forget the hot sauce and avocado slices.
4 cups twice peeled fresh fava beans, from about 4 lbs of whole fava pods
2 tbs sunflower oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups diced white onion, about 1 whole onion
2 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ tbs ground cumin
½ tsp ground achiote powder
1 tsp chili powder
3 large gold potatoes, peeled and chopped in medium chunks, about 3cups
6 cups water or broth
½ cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco, can substitute with feta cheese, but most supermarkets now have some type of queso fresco available
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro or parsley
Salt to taste
Serve with: hot sauce and avocado
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, cook for about 5 minutes
- Add the crushed garlic, cook for another 2 minutes
- Add the chopped tomatoes, cumin, hot pepper powder or chili powder, achiote powder and salt, mix well and cook for another 3 minutes
- Add the potatoes and the water or broth, bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and add 2 cups of the twice peeled fava beans, cook until the potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.
- Use a potato masher to soften and crumble the potato chunks.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of fava beans and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk the milk and the eggs together, stir this mixture into the soup.
- Stir in the crumbled queso fresco.
- Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or parsley and serve warm with hot sauce and avocado.