Sancocho is a traditional broth, often considered a soup or stew, in several Latin American cuisines like the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. It usually consists of large pieces of meat, tubers and vegetables served in a broth.
This recipe gives you the choice between beef and pork. Because of all the starches and meat in this dish, this stew tends to be thick and rich. Some of the vegetables will fall apart, giving it a porridge consistency. This is a good thing.
The first people to cook this flavor stew were from the Spanish Canary Islands as a fish-stew soup, Canary Islanders who immigrated to Latin America are believed to bring it to the island with them. As the recipe began to travel to different parts it eventually reached Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rican Variations
In Puerto Rico, sancocho is considered a fairly rustic dish. It is made with chicken and smoked ham (Sancocho de gallina), top round beef (sancocho), pork feet with chickpeas (sancocho de patitas), beef short ribs with chorizo, or fish, shellfish, and salted cod cooked in coconut milk and ginger with rice dumplings (Caldo Santo).
There are several versions and every household has its own take on sancocho, but a true Puerto Rican sancocho always calls for corn on the cob, a variety of tubers, squash, green bananas, and meat. The hearty stew is served with a small bowl of rice, pique criollo, tostones, and bread.
Puerto Rican Sancocho
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- 1 med yuca
- 1 med white yautia taro root
- 1 green plantain
- 1 yellow sweet plantain
- 10 oz calabaza pumpkin or kabocha squash
- 2 fresh ears sweet corn
- 1 lb pork or beef stew meat trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 lb boneless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 ½ tbsp salt plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed
- ½ cup sofrito
- 10 cups pork or beef stock
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 cup Spanish chorizo thinly sliced
- white rice for serving
- Peel and cut the yuca, yautia, green plantain and yellow plantain into 1-inch pieces.1 med yuca, 1 med white yautia, 1 green plantain, 1 yellow sweet plantain
- Scrape out the seeds, then chop the calabaza, skin on, into 1-inch pieces.10 oz calabaza
- Put each ingredient in a separate bowl, adding water to cover vegetables in order to prevent them from turning brown while you prepare the rest of the soup.
- Husk the corn, then slice it into 2-inch-thick segments. Set aside.2 fresh ears sweet corn
- Season pork (or beef) and chicken with 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.1 lb pork or beef stew meat, 1 lb boneless chicken thighs, 1 ½ tbsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the pork and brown on all sides for 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a clean, large bowl, then add the chicken to the same pot, and brown on both sides for another 5 minutes, adding oil as needed if the pot gets dry. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the same bowl as the pork.1 tbsp olive oil
- Reduce heat to medium and add sofrito to the pot, scraping up any browned bits of meat and incorporating them into the mix. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid has evaporated and mixture darkens in color.½ cup sofrito
- Return the pork, chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the stock, bay leaves and remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.10 cups pork or beef stock, 3 dried bay leaves
- Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To keep the vegetables from falling apart, add each one in order of firmness, cooking each for 5 minutes before adding the next.
- Begin with the yuca, then yautia, green plantain, yellow plantain, calabaza and corn, cooking the yuca for a total of 30 minutes and the corn for only 5 minutes.
- Add chorizo and stir well to incorporate. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat until meat and vegetables are tender and break easily with a fork.1 cup Spanish chorizo
- Adjust salt to taste, and serve with fresh bread or white rice on the side.white rice
Other Recipes That Go Well With Sancocho
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