Sancocho Recipe – The perfect one-pot meal is a hearty, mouthwateringly delicious stew with different kinds of meat, sausage, and root vegetables. This Caribbean stew is absolutely soul-satisfying on its own. And it’s ideal for warming up the fall chill!
The fall season brings a pleasant chill, and nothing beats digging into a huge bowl of stew. So it’s time to dust off those big pots and prep them for soul-satisfying stews and soups. I can already see myself covered in blankets while slurping on my favorite comfort soup while watching a popular TV series. Aah! So relaxing!
I usually make a gigantic batch of stew and freeze leftovers for an easy, hearty meal whenever I’m rushed but need a delicious, healthy meal. And my first batch of stew is none other than this traditional sancocho recipe. Yum!
What Is It?
What Is Sancocho?
The word comes from the Spanish verb sancochar (meaning parboil in English), and it’s a traditional stew famous in several Latin American countries, like the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. It enjoys several variations, but the common factor is that a sancocho recipe is a hearty stew (sometimes referred to as soup) with your choice of meat, broth, vegetables, and tubers. Latins often serve this hearty stew on special occasions and holidays.
For this recipe, I adopted the Puerto Rican version, then added my own spin to it to amp up the flavor of this mighty fine comfort food. 😉
- Meat – You can add whatever meat you prefer. However, chicken, beef, and andouille sausage give this dish excellent layers of meaty flavor.
- Sofrito – The sofrito is a seasoning blend made with finely chopped and sauteed fresh peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes for an authentic Puerto Rican flavor.
- Spices – If it’s your first time trying this dish, you’ll experience a flavor explosion from cumin, oregano, paprika, and sazon. Quite tasty but not overpowering.
- Broth – You can use water to thin out the sauce a little, but I like broth because it adds umami.
- Vegetables – The starchy veggies, such as potatoes, pumpkin, and yucca, thicken our sauce naturally while adding a rich, creamy taste to your stew. Then the corn and plantain add a natural sweetness.
How to Make Sancocho
Prep the Ingredients
- Marinate – Season meat (chicken, beef) on both sides with salt and sazon, or just use your favorite spice mix. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Prep the Pan – Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pot.
- Add Meat – If desired, you may do so in batches or brown the beef and chicken separately. Let it sear for about 2 minutes before turning the meat over.
- Add Sausage – Cook for about 6 minutes or until brown. Add sausage and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Saute the Seasonings – Add the sofrito, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and a tad more sazon. Sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Then add onions, and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
Let It Simmer
- Simmer – Pour in water or broth. Then return the meat, bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on the cut of beef. Cook less if only using chicken.
- Add Vegetables – Next, add root vegetables – starting with the one that needs the most time to cook – in this case, green plantains. Cook for about 10 minutes before adding the yuca, squash, potatoes, and corn.
- Continue Simmering – Continue cooking stew for 10 minutes until the veggies begin to soften.
- Adjust Taste – Season with salt and pepper, and taste test to adjust seasonings.
- Final Stretch – Continue simmering until the root vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. The stew should be thick and hearty. If it’s not, smash a few root vegetables to thicken it.
- Serve in generous bowls and top with chopped cilantro.
- Spicy – Kick up the heat with habanero, scotch bonnet, and serrano peppers if you’re brave enough for a flame-throwing party. The added heat will surely comfort you when it gets chilly.
- More Veggies – Aside from the starchy veggies, you can also add more veggies like cabbage, bell pepper, green beans, and beans to make this dish heartier and more nourishing.
- Soup Base – Add a tropical twist to this stew by adding about a cup or more coconut milk for a richer, creamier finish. You can try adding some tomato sauce because the contrasting sweet and tangy will definitely compliment the overall taste of this stew.
Tips and Tricks
- Cook the starchy veggies longer if you want a thicker, mushier sauce for your sancocho recipe. But if you want a firmer texture, cook them until they are just fork-tender.
- Since we’re dealing with root veggies, adding them in the order from the ones that take the longest to cook to the ones with the shortest cooking time ensures everything cooks evenly.
- Homemade sofrito is the bomb. And it’s super easy, so go for it.
Luckily, our robust stew keeps well in the fridge and is freezer-friendly. So if you’re a stew-lover like me, I suggest doubling the recipe and storing it in the refrigerator or freezer so you’ve got it ready when the craving hits. All you need is to reheat it, and it’ll be on the table in no time. 😉
Serving and Storage Instructions
Although this dish is quite enjoyable on its own, nothing beats pouring sancocho over a warm bed of rice. Aah! It’s happiness on a plate. I can eat this combo all day! 👌
I suggest storing leftover sancocho in serving-size containers for easy meal prep. The individual servings are also easier to thaw and reheat. It lasts 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer. But don’t forget to label them with the date to keep track of their freshness.
Simply thaw your sancocho overnight in the fridge, and warm it up on a stove or microwave the next day. A splash of broth or water will thin your stew if it gets too thick.
Sancocho’s main ingredients feature meat, vegetables, and tubers. The meat usually includes pork, beef, chicken, or fish with smoked ham or sausage. As for the carbs, popular choices are yuca, potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, winter squash, and green plantains.
They’re similar recipes using available meat (chicken, beef, pork, goat, and sausage) with root vegetables and corn on the cob. The main difference is the sofrito that Puerto Ricans can’t resist adding to the delicious mix.
This basic Puerto Rican seasoning goes in almost everything, from arroz con gandules to flavorful stews and rice dishes. You make it by pureeing and sauteing bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and onions. Sounds heavenly just reading the ingredients, right?
What to Serve with Sancocho
Traditionally, sancocho is paired with rice, sliced avocado, tostones, and pique (a homemade hot sauce). But you’ll also love it served with bread recipes below to clean your bowl. ✌️
More Warming Fall Recipes to Try
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- French Onion Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Jamaican Oxtail Stew
- Okra and Tomatoes with Chicken
This super easy sancocho recipe will surely blow you away with how hearty and flavorful it is. Would you like more incredible recipes for fall? Check out 35 Best Fall Baking Recipes to Try and 35 Best Fall Appetizers Roundup Collection for some drool-worthy dishes. ❤️
Watch How to Make It
This blog post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.
- 1 pound chicken thighs, skinless and cut into bite-size chunks
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into chunks
- ½ pound andouille sausage, cut into thick slices
- Salt (just enough to marinate)
- 1 packet Sazon (without achiote) OR 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 6 cups water or broth, adjust to desired taste
- 1 large green plantain, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 ears corn, cut into bite-size (about 2-inch) chunks
- 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup Caribbean pumpkin (calabaza or butternut squash)
- 1 yuca, peeled, the taproot removed, and cut into 2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Season meat (chicken and beef) on both sides salt and season. Or just use your favorite spice mix. Then let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pot.
- Then add the meat (do so in batches if desired) or brown the beef and chicken separately. Let it sear for about 2 minutes before turning the chicken over.
- Cook for about 6 minutes or until brown. Then add the sausage and cook for another two minutes.
- Add sofrito, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and sazon. Sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Then add onions, and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in water or broth. Return the meat to the pot and bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on your cut of beef. Cook less if only using chicken.
- Next, add root vegetables, starting with the one that needs the most time to cook – in this case, green plantains. Cook for about 10 minutes before adding the yuca, squash, potatoes, and corn.
- Continue simmering the stew for 10 minutes until the meat and veggies begin to soften.
- Season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste.
- Continue cooking until root vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. The stew should be thick and hearty; if not, mash up a few root vegetables to thicken it.
- Serve in large bowls, and top with chopped cilantro.
Tips & Notes:
- Cook the starchy veggies longer if you want a thicker, mushier sauce. But if you want textures and crunch, cook them until they are just fork-tender.
- Since we’re dealing with root veggies, adding them in the order from the ones that take the longest to cook to the one that has the shortest cooking time ensures everything cooks evenly.
- You can make your own super easy homemade sofrito for an even better sancocho.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
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