Starters & Light meals

Samp-and-bean soup (Locro Argentina)

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10 to 12
30 minutes
2½ hours
Wine/Spirit Pairing
Neil Ellis Shiraz 2004

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  • 100 g hominy or samp
  • 250 g white beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 500 g beef shin or brisket
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 g butternut or pumpkin
  • 1–2 cups cut fresh corn
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 250 g spicy sausage (optional)
  • For the sofrito:
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 T paprika
  • ½ t red chilli flakes
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 T chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 T chopped coriander
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak the samp and beans overnight in lots of cold water. Drain and place in a saucepan. Add the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

Skim the surface. Add the beef. Don’t add salt yet – it will toughen the beans.

Bring to a bubble, remove any scum and reduce the heat.

Add the onion and bay leaf, and simmer for about 2 hours or until everything is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent catching, and, if necessary, add boiling water.

Add all the vegetables you’re using and the seasoning. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the sausage, if using and heat through.

Check the seasoning and thin with boiling water if you want it more soupy, or leave it thick for a stew.

To make the sofrito: Stir-fry the onion in the oil until softened. Turn off the heat and stir in the flavourings then stir in the chopped herbs. Season to taste.

If necessary, loosen with a little more oil. Either stir into the soup or serve on the side to add at the table.
Cook’s tip: If you haven’t soaked the samp and beans overnight, cover with lots of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and remove from the heat. Leave to stand for 1 hour then drain and use. For a short cut, use ready-peeled butternut and sweet-potato chunks.

TASTE’s take:

This classic South African dish is also popular in Argentina, where it is know as Locra. There, it is served as a thick, satisfying soup, more like stew, using coarsely ground white corn – hominy to Americans; samp to us. Argentinians love a chunk of meat in it, but a vegetarian option, mixed with the distinctive sofrito, is a flavourful alternative. Add the vegetables depending on what you like or what you have on hand.


Phillippa Cheifitz

Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz

Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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