Dominican Sancocho is a dish usually saved for special occasions, but it is so good, it’ll make a great winter meal on any cold day. I have streamlined some of the steps and ingredients for what is available in the U.S. Authentically, this is made with 7 types of meats, I have listed options below, but you can use whatever you like or can find.
This stew is made in stages. First you marinate the meats, (this is optional), then you saute them. Once the meat is browned, you add the liquid and cook until the meat is tender. Then you add the hearty vegetables and cook them until almost done. Once you get to this point, you add the shorter cooking vege’s and finish the soup. See notes below for the different meats you can use. You can use one type, like beef, or you can mix in all different types of meats to make the really authentic Sancocho.
This is really a Spice it YOUR Way dish as you can mix and match your proteins, vegetables, and seasonings as well. See notes also for the lists of hearty vegetables to add first, and then the quicker cooking vege’s to add in the last hour of cooking. You want to cut your vegetables in large pieces as this is meant to be a hearty, stick to your ribs dish. Plan on spending all day making this delicious stew. This make a great Sunday supper dish with leftovers for lunches during the week.
I usually make this over the entire weekend. I cook the meats with the aromatic vegetables on Saturday, then refrigerate everything right in the broth. This way, it melds the flavors and any unwanted fats rise to the top where you can just remove it the next day. Then you can add your vegetables and continue cooking.
Dominican Sancocho is different from other Latin American recipes as the broth is usually a bit thicker. This is due to the numerous root vegetables which help to thicken the stock.
1qtWater, 2 quarts if using bouillonYou want enough liquid to cover by one inch at least. Depending on how much meat you are using, this could be more.
Quicker Cooking Vegetables
6Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1cup1 1/2-inch cut fresh green beans
1canSmall white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2Head cabbage, chopped
1Green banana, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1Yellow plantain, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1Large chayote squash - peeled and sliced lengthwise
1SmallChopped peeled butternut squash
2Ears fresh corn, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1Chopped green bell pepper]
1lbCassava (yucca) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Marinate the Meat
Add the vegetables and herbs to a blender or food processor and blend until finely chopped. Don't make it a puree if you want to skip the marination step and just use it as a sofrito. This step is totally optional, but it adds great depth to the dish. You don't need to do this for sausages or chicken.
Place the beef, and pork in a large bowl and coat meat with the chopped seasoning. Marinate for at least an hour.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat; Add meat; cook and stir until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't crowd the pan, you may have to do this in batches depending on how much meat you are putting in your stew. When all the meat is browned, add onion, garlic, celery and salt. Cook and stir until onion is browned and tender. Add in the sofrito if using instead of marinating the meat towards the end of your last batch of meat to bring out the flavors.
Add in marinade ingredients if you chose not to marinate your meat before hand. Add tomato sauce and beef bouillon. Add water to cover meat mixture by one inch. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer 1-2 hours until meat is tender when pierced with a fork. The time will depend on how big your pieces of meat are cut.
You can start adding in the heartier vege's after about an hour of cooking. Start with the potatoes, yucca, bell peppers, green beans, yellow plantain and pumpkin. After about a half hour, add in remaining vege's, cabbage, corn, green banana, white beans and chayote squash. Cook until all the vegetables are tender and stew has formed a rich broth, 2 to 3 hours. Add more water or salt if needed. If you would like a thicker broth, remove a few pieces of the carrot and squash, for example, and mash them. Add back into the broth and simmer until incorporated and thickened.
Serve hot with white rice (arroz blanco), avocado, and hot sauce on the side.
Meats for Sancocho:1lbbeef for stew- chuck, or round, cut into chunks1lbgoat meat[0.45 kg] cut into small pieces1lbpork for stew pork belly, or shoulder, cut into small pieces1lbchickenlegs and thighs, cut into small pieces1lbpork ribs,cut into small pieces1lb meaty bones from a smoked ham, no need to marinate, just add to stock in beginning.1lbpork sausage Linguica, or Chorizo is good, but spicy hot Italian sausage or smoked sausage will work too. thickly slicedThe list of vegetables is pretty long, use as many as you like, it will be delicious no matter how many you use. You really can't go wrong.If you like it thicker, add the white beans in at the beginning so they'll break down and naturally thicken the broth. The plantain and banana will also help to thicken it. You can finely chop half of the plantain to aid in thickening also.This dish is popular all over the Caribbean. Each island has their own version. The Puerto Rican version adds in tomato sauce and green olives. The Cuban's use lime juice at the end with a little hot pepper sauce. The use of various types of meat all together make this one Dominican. They are all delicious and reflect the common origins of the Caribbean islands.