Dominican Sancocho

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.

Print Recipe
Dominican Sancocho
Dominican Sancocho
Servings
Ingredients
Marinate and cook the meat
  • Choice of Beef or Pork See notes below
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tbsp Chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried, or 1 tbsp fresh chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic ,crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, sliced
  • 1 medium Carrots, sliced
Add Liquid
  • 4 cubes Beef boilllon, or 1 quart beef stock
  • 2 stalks Celery, sliced
  • 2 large Carrots, sliced
  • 1 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 qt Water, 2 quarts if using bouillon You 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
  • 6 Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup 1 1/2-inch cut fresh green beans
  • 1 can Small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 Green banana, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 Yellow plantain, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Large chayote squash - peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Small Chopped peeled butternut squash
  • 2 Ears fresh corn, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Chopped green bell pepper]
  • 1 lb Cassava (yucca) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Servings
Ingredients
Marinate and cook the meat
  • Choice of Beef or Pork See notes below
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tbsp Chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried, or 1 tbsp fresh chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic ,crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, sliced
  • 1 medium Carrots, sliced
Add Liquid
  • 4 cubes Beef boilllon, or 1 quart beef stock
  • 2 stalks Celery, sliced
  • 2 large Carrots, sliced
  • 1 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 qt Water, 2 quarts if using bouillon You 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
  • 6 Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup 1 1/2-inch cut fresh green beans
  • 1 can Small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 Green banana, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 Yellow plantain, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Large chayote squash - peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Small Chopped peeled butternut squash
  • 2 Ears fresh corn, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Chopped green bell pepper]
  • 1 lb Cassava (yucca) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Dominican Sancocho
Instructions
Marinate the Meat
  1. 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.
Brown Meat
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  1. Serve hot with white rice (arroz blanco), avocado, and hot sauce on the side.
Recipe Notes

Meats for Sancocho:

1 lb beef for stew- chuck, or round, cut into chunks

1 lb goat meat [0.45 kg] cut into small pieces

1 lb pork for stew pork belly, or  shoulder, cut into small pieces

1 lb chicken legs and thighs, cut into small pieces

1 lb pork ribs, cut into small pieces

1 lb meaty bones from a smoked ham, no need to marinate, just add to stock in beginning.

1 lb pork sausage Linguica, or Chorizo is good, but spicy hot Italian sausage or smoked sausage will work too. thickly sliced

The 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.

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