Recipe - Humita
Humita, pronounced u-me-ta, is one of the oldest and most traditional dishes eaten in Argentina. It is a stew made from sweetcorn and other typical South American vegetables. Like most things to do with Argentina, it’s origins can be traced to another country. However, unlike, wine or juicy steaks, Humita didn’t originate in Europe. In fact it was brought to Argentina around the 1400s when the Inca Empire marched south from Peru, all the way to Aregentina. Humita is quite a chameleon of a dish. Depending on the region and the country, there are many different ways to prepare it.
This recipe is the most typical Argentine example - best known from the region of Salta in the north west of the country. It is very simple to make, it just requires quite a lot of chopping! The dish is finished with cheese and milk, if you want to make a really healthy version, leave out the cheese.
Serves 4 as a starter or appetiser
1 x whole sweetcorn - Preferably fresh and grated. but tinned /canned works fine
350g Butternut squash (roughly half a small squash) - Grated
1 x Small Red pepper / bell pepper - Diced
1 x Medium sized onion - Diced
1 x Spring onion / green onion - Finely chopped
Milk (roughly 100 ml)
Hard cheese like Parmesan - Grated
Into a large pan- add a generous glug of olive oil , when hot add the diced onions and a little salt.
Allow the onions to sweat for a couple of minutes, then add the diced pepper. Make sure the onions do not brown.
Once both the onion and the peppers have softened, add the grated squash and the corn.
Now sprinkle in some crushed chilis (as spicy as you like) and the oregano & chives.
At this point the concoction should be fairly thick. Add a dash of water to loosen, put a lid on the pan and leave to cook on a low heat for roughly 20 minutes.
When the 20 minutes are up - turn off the heat, add a dash of milk and the grated cheese, The more you add, the creamier and richer it will become. Finish by added the chopped Spring onion and mix it into the Humita. Taste and add more salt if necessary. The consistency should be like a thick soup. If too think, add a little more milk, If too runny, return to the hob without the the lid to allow allow the Humita to reduce.
Serve in small bowls, garnish with the chopped basil and a little grated cheese.
Wine Pairing- This dish pairs wonderfully with Torrontes, Argentina's flagship white wine, hailing from the same region of Salta. Torrontes is crisp and aromatic, with exotic fruit notes on the nose. This makes it a great aperitif and also compliments the spice in the dish.