Puerto Rican Sancocho - a warm, hearty, stew that’s layered with complex flavor and a variety of starches native to Africa and the Caribbean.
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 hearty stew. There are versions of it all across the Caribbean and South America that utilize different meats and local root vegetables like yuca, malanga, etc. Other ingredients like plantains, pumpkin, and chayote get consideration.
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.
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.
- 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
- Corn cob
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 pot over medium-high eat. Add ghee or olive, 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.
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.
Make the stew
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add beef chunks, chicken thighs, and vegetables. Bake for 60 minutes.
Add the sausage and peppers, then cook for another hour or so. All the vegetables should be fork tender.
Remove from the oven and serve.
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 + 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).
I went a little berserk with the starches, since I had access to so many. 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.
make this recipe
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- 2 tbsp 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 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 cup Sofrito
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- ½ tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tbsp black pepper
- 2 whole Bay leaves
- 1 small Culantro bundle
- 2 sprigs Fresh thyme
- 12 oz Tomato sauce
- 1 small Name root peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 small Boniato root peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
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.