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"Milonga Sentimental" Puerto Rican Sancocho Recipe

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Sancocho is a popular Puerto Rican dish that is made with various meats and vegetables. This dish is hearty and flavorful, and it can be served as a main course or a side dish. In this blog post, I will show you how to make Puerto Rican sancocho that can be eaten for special occasions or weeknights.

Sancocho is a great dish for busy moms, because it is easy to prepare and it feeds a large crowd. So, if you are looking for an easy meal to cook for your family, then this puerto rican sancocho recipe is definitely worth trying!

Puerto Rican Sancocho is a warm, hearty, stew that’s layered with complex flavor and a variety of starches native to Africa and the Caribbean. It is the ultimate comfort food!

sancocho stew in a square white bowl with corn, beef, and potatoes

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Karibe Company.

I've been in the market for new cooking utensils, so was happy to partner with Karibe and try their utensil set. For me, quality and functionality (durable, easy to clean, heat resistant, etc.) are my most important criteria for most things, but especially kitchen utensils given how much time I spend cooking.

Karibe's 10 piece silicone utensil set has it all covered and to boot, they are easy on the eyes. The quality silicone means they don't scratch-up your pots and pans which is a big deal, especially after investing big in cookware like I did.

I love the feel of the wooden handles which are smooth and sturdy. Even better the connection between the handles and the silicone ends are securely connected with no gaps to collect food, sauces, etc.

I enjoyed cooking sancocho with these, as several came in handy as you will see from the recipe steps. I was especially impressed with the silicone grips of the tongs.

What Is Sancocho?

Sancocho is basically a warm, hearty, stew that’s layered with complex flavor and a variety of starches native to Africa and the Caribbean. There are versions of it all across the Caribbean and South America, particularly Puerto Rico, Colombia, and The Dominican Republic, that utilize different meats and local root vegetables like yuca, malanga, etc. Other ingredients like plantains, pumpkin, and chayote get consideration.

There is nothing better than a big ole pot of warm and hearty sancocho. This meat and vegetable stew is a staple in Spanish Caribbean cooking and straight-up comfort food.

Most recipes call for beef in some form, but are likely to include other meats like chicken, sausage, or even pork. All ingredients are stewed slowly in a beefy broth that will add all kinds of good smells to your kitchen.

Beats and Eats (music to pair with Sancocho)

Sancocho is hearty but also celebratory. Up tempo is the way to go. El Gran Combo's "Milonga Sentimental" is the perfect pairing with it.

SANCOCHO INGREDIENTS

The ingredient list is somewhat long, but many are optional depending on what’s available to you. This is also a simple cook so don’t fret. You have the flexibility to choose a variety of meats so focus on what's available to you.

  • Yuca Root - should be readily available in produce aisle of most grocery stores.
  • Malanga Root - can be readily found in many mainstream grocery stores
  • Green Plantain
  • Pumpkin - Sweet Potatoes, Kabucha Squash, or Butternut Squash make good substitutes
  • Fresh Corn cob
  • Skinless Chicken thighs - bone in
  • Beef Chuck Roast
  • Beef Hind Shank
  • Beef Stock
  • Andouille, Spanish Chorizo or Longaniza. Go with your favorite sausage. I like andouille because of the kick.
  • Sweet or Bell Peppers
  • Dried Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Black Pepper
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh culantro - Caribbean herb, not the same thing as cilantro but shares some similarities. Culantro is leafier with a more distinct, stronger taste. If substituting cilantro you'll need to increase the amount.
  • Sofrito - make your own or you can buy a store-bought version which you can find in my grocery stores these days 
  • Tomato sauce
  • Olive Oil

Optional Ingredients

  • Name Root - Ethnic or specialty grocery stores only
  • Boniato Root - Basically a Caribbean sweet potato. You can find it in a Latin-American focused markets or specialty grocery store only
  • Chayote
  • Fresh thyme

PUERTO RICAN STEW INSTRUCTIONS (Step by Step)

Prepare the Meats

Pre-mix the seasonings (cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika) together in a small bowl. Set aside

Soak the beef chuck and chicken thighs in lime juice. Add a quarter of the seasonings and set aside 30 minutes.

Heat large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high eat. Add ghee or olive oil, then once hot brown the meats individually over medium-high heat. First brown the beef shank. Remove and set aside. Next brown the beef chuck cubes and finally the chicken thighs. Set all aside.

spatula removing beef from pot

Prepare the broth

Using the same pot add the onions and saute 2-3 minutes then add the garlic cloves and a pinch of the seasoning mix for another 30 seconds to a minute.

onions and garlic sauteing

Add sofrito, tomato sauce, half the remaining seasonings. Mix well.

sofrito plus onions in a pot
sofrito and tomato sauce mix

Add broth, beef shank, culantro, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes. Remove the culantro.

beef and culantro boiling in broth

Make the stew

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add beef chunks, chicken thighs, and vegetables. Bake for 60 minutes.

beef stew cooking
vegetables cooking in broth

Add the sausage and peppers, then cook for another hour or so. All the vegetables should be fork tender.

stew cooking in red pot

Remove from the oven and serve using a slotted spoon. Garnish with cilantro.

sancocho stew in a square white bowl with corn, beef, and potatoes

COOKING CONSIDERATIONS & TIPS

Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list. You have flexibility in what ingredients you choose to use, and the steps are super easy. The hardest part will be peeling the root vegetables. Beyond that it's your basic tubers and meat stew execution.

The base of sancocho is meats + starchy vegetable, so you have a lot of flexibility. The rest is just beef broth, aromatics, and seasonings. If you have access to a market/grocery store that's focused on Latin American products you will not have any problem finding any of the ingredients. If not, stick to your mainstream spot and just use what's available.

Substitute chicken stock or chicken broth for the beef broth if you don't have any on hand.

I included both beef shank (mostly for the bone) and beef chuck. The shank which is mostly bone beefs up the broth. The chuck provides those tender cuts of beef. 

This dish is great as is, but if you're up for it make your own beef broth for next-level flavor.

I went with bone-in chicken thighs. I did remove the skin before cooking to keep the greasy fat element down to a minimum.

Sancocho is made all over The Caribbean and South America and each country has it’s own version. Types of meat vary but many versions include pork (bone-in ribs, pork shank, pork shoulder) or chicken pieces. You can use any combination of these meats, or just one type.

Sancocho is typically made with a sofrito, which is a mixture of garlic, onions, and green pepper. You can make your own sofrito, or buy it pre-made. Make a sofrito using this recipe version or my favorite Haitian epis seasoningwhich is very similar. Sofrito or Epis give the dish some “bottom” think percussion in a jazz band. 

I went a little berserk with the starches, since I had access to so many and I really wanted a hearty stew. However, use what you can find. This isn’t meant to be a complicated recipe so stay cool.

The longer this dish cooks, the better it gets. It’s also great after a day or two. 

The vegetables in sancocho vary depending on what's available, but they often include starchy vegetables like potatoes, yuca, sweet potato, green plantains (avoid ripe plantains), and squash.

This soup is usually served with white rice on the side along with sliced avocado. Other sides for consideration would include beans, Brazilian-style collard greens, avocado salad, or fonio.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Making Sancocho

Q: Can I make a vegan sancocho without meat?

A: Yes, you can make a vegetable stew version of sancocho by omitting the meat and using additional vegetables instead.

Q: What is the difference between Dominican Sancocho and Puerto Rican Sancocho?

A: They aren't really that different. The approach is the same for both, but where there might be differences is in a few of the ingredients. For example you may see goat as one of the meat options.

Q: What type of beans can I use in sancocho?

A: Any type of beans will work in sancocho but red beans are commonly used.

Q: Can I make sancocho ahead of time?

A: Yes, sancocho can be made ahead of time and reheated when you're ready to eat. It will actually taste even better the next day.

Q: Can I freeze sancocho?

A: Yes, sancocho can be frozen for up to 3 months.

MORE RECIPES

make this recipe

Sancocho is a delicious stew that will keep you full for hours. If you’re looking for something to make this weekend, give sancocho a try! This recipe is easy to follow, and the end result is definitely worth it.

If you make this hearty soup recipe, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. 

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

sancho stew in a square white bowl with corn, beef, and potatoes

Puerto Rican Sancocho

A warm, hearty beef-based stew that’s layered with complex flavor and a variety of starches native to Africa and the Caribbean.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 626kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil ghee is another option
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 medium Yuca peeled and cut into ¼ inch chunks
  • 1 medium Malanga root peeled and cut into ¼ inch chunks
  • 1 Green Plantain peeled and cut into ¼ inch chunks
  • 2 Bone-in Chicken thighs skin removed
  • 6 oz Beef hind shank
  • 1 ½ lbs Beef chuck roast cubed into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 whole lime juiced
  • 4 quarts Beef Stock
  • 1 lb sausage sliced into ¼ inch slices - Andouille or chorizo or longaniza
  • 1 small Pumpkin peeled, de-seeded, and cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 2 ears Corn cob sliced in quarters
  • 1 medium Chayote
  • 4-5 sweet peppers
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup Sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 whole Bay leaves
  • 1 small Culantro bundle
  • 2 sprigs Fresh thyme
  • 12 oz Tomato sauce

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 small Name root peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 small Boniato root peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks

Instructions

Prepare the meats

  • Soak the beef chuck and chicken thighs in lime juice. Add a quarter of the seasonings (cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika) and set aside 30 minutes.
  • Heat large pot over medium-high eat. Add ghee or olive oil, then once hot brown the meats individually. First brown the beef shank. Remove and set aside. Next brown the beef chuck cubes and finally the chicken thighs. Set all aside.

Prepare the broth

  • Using the same pot add the onions and saute 2-3 minutes then add the garlic and a pinch of the seasoning mix for another 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Add sofrito, tomato sauce, half the remaining seasonings. Mix well cooking about 1-2 minutes before next step.
  • Add broth, beef shank, culantro, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes.

Make the stew

  • Remove the culantro. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add beef chunks, chicken thighs, and vegetables. Bake covered for 60 minutes.
  • Add the sausage and peppers. Bake another 60 minutes. Remove pot from oven and let rest before serving.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

The base of sancocho is meats + root vegetable starches, so you have a lot of flexibility. The rest is just beef broth, aromatics, and seasonings. If you have access to a market/grocery store that's focused on Latin American products you ill not have any problem finding any of the ingredients. If not, stick to your mainstream spot and just use what's available.
I included both beef shank (mostly for the bone) and beef chuck. The shank which is mostly bone beefs up the broth. The chuck provides those tender cuts of beef. 
This dish is great as is, but if you're up for it make your own beef broth for next-level flavor.
I went with bone-in chicken thighs. I did remove the skin before cooking to keep the greasy fat element down to a minimum.
Sancocho is made all over The Caribbean and South America and each country has it’s own version. Many include pork (bone-in ribs, pork shank).
Make a sofrito using this recipe version or my favorite Haitian epis seasoning which is very similar. Sofrito or Epis give the dish some “bottom” think percussion in a jazz band. 

Nutrition

Calories: 626kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 1970mg | Potassium: 2349mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 14009IU | Vitamin C: 102mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 7mg
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Recipe Rating




Andres

Saturday 21st of May 2022

Alot of those ingredients don't go into making sancocho,and meat is usually pigs feet malanga,yautia,yame platano,Calabasas,no corn, that's it this is the way my grandma used to make it and all the other ingredients for flavor.

Marwin Brown

Monday 23rd of May 2022

Sancocho is made many different ways. It's great that your grandma used pigs feet and malanga, yautia, yame. Not all Sancocho recipes use pigs feet. I've had sancocho in different restaurants in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and they were all different. Some used beef, some used pork, some used both. Also not everyone has access to Calabasas or yame or yautia so you use what's available and closest to those ingredients. Thanks for visiting the site, sorry the recipe isn't the same as your grandma's.

Melanie

Monday 18th of January 2021

This was so delicious, thank you so much for the recipe, my family loved it!

Melanie

Monday 18th of January 2021

Definite keeper. My family loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

Amy

Monday 18th of January 2021

Wow this recipe is incredible! The flavors are so big and fantastic, and it was easier than I assumed it would be! So delicious!

Heidy M

Sunday 17th of January 2021

My ex-husband is from Puerto Rico, and he and his mom make a mean batch of Sancocho Antioqueño, so I was really looking forward to testing out your version! Thanks for a tasty recipe!