I promised that I would supply vegetarian alternatives to many of the meat based recipes that I post for the Caribbean. Vegan Sancocho, My Way, is probably going to make some people upset because of the “no meat” thing, but it is so good!
I wanted to give this dish as much flavor as I could because the meat is usually where you get your basic flavor base. Vegetables are full of flavor, so I build on a couple cooking techniques to bring out the most flavor from them. This looks pretty complicated, there are a lot of ingredients, but they are all commonly found and most are probably in your pantry.
Sancocho is not something that is made everyday, but after you try this, it may just become one of your go to recipes!
I started with making a quick anatto oil and used it to brown the proteins. For the base of my broth, I used a sofrito, (which is a great way to clean out your fridge of odds and ends).
After putting everything together, it simmered for about an hour and I served it with brown rice. Not traditional either, but it worked so well! This recipe makes enough to feed four hungry people with probably enough left over for work lunch the next day.
I decided to use a sofrito for the stock base as I was looking to create a well developed broth.
In trying to keep with some tradition, I used 3 different meat based proteins, I suppose you could use the traditional seven if you use your imagination. Vegan meatballs would be awesome. I used soy curls which you can find in specialty Asian markets or on line, vegan chorizo sausage, and a Mexican flavored seitan. I have also included my recipes for homemade Adobo Seasoning, Vegan Chorizo, and Mexican Seitan.
Of course, you can use any types of proteins as well as more or less. If mushrooms are your jam, use quartered mushrooms, just brown them with the other proteins. Make it YOUR way!
I added some cooked hominy because I was experimenting with the dried version. I soaked it overnight and cooked it in my Instant Pot for 30 minutes. I used this instead of beans. If you can’t find hominy, use a canned variety. You can also add Dominican Red Beans which are similar to kidney beans, and when it comes to red beans, I like them better.
Use as many vegetables as you like, omit one if you don’t like it. I think my favorite vegetable in this stew was the plantain.
I have some ideas for other types of Sofrito so if this soup thrills you and you’d like to try out more, please check it out.
Cuisine Caribbean, Central America, Dominican Republic, Latin, Mexican, Spice It Your Way!
Servings 4hungry people
1SmallGreen chile pepper, Serrano or Jalapeno, optional, or more if you like it spicy
1Vegan chorizo sausagesliced
1cupMexican flavored seitancut into 1/2" chunks
1/2cupSoy curlssoak in water 30 minutes
4Small Red Potatoespeeled and quartered
1Green Bell Pepperchopped
1cupCut fresh green beans
1smallCassava peeled and cut into 1-inch piecesalso called yucca
1canKidney beans or cooked hominyrinsed and drained
1Yellow plantainpeeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1Chayote squash, zucchini or summer squash
2EarsFresh cornsliced into 1pieces
1/4Head cabbage, or other greenoptional, chopped or thinly sliced
1quartVegetable bouillonbeef flavored , or 1 qt homemade vegetable stock
18 ozCan Tomato Sauce
1 1/2tspAdobo seasoning
1qtWaterYou want enough liquid to cover by one inch at least.
Make the Sofrito
You only have to coarsely chop the vege's as the food processor does all the work for you.
Pulse the garlic and chile pepper in a food processor until chopped, add the remaining ingredients and pulse until pretty finely chopped. Don't overdo it, you don't want it pureed, there should be some texture left, but you want it pretty fine as this will become the base for your stew.
Prepare your vegetables and proteinsand proteins
Thinly slice sausage. Rinse soy curls and squeeze out excess liquid. Cut seitan into cubes. Cut vegetables into large pieces.
Slice and cube vegetables.
Make the Stew
Heat a large soup pot over medium low heat, add olive oil and annatto seeds and gently heat until the oil turns red. Be careful not to burn them. Remove the annatto seed and discard once oil is a beautiful red color.
Turn up the heat to medium, and add proteins to the oil. Saute for about 10 minutes stirring until browned on all sides.
Remove to a plate, and set aside.
Add the sofrito to the pot and saute until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown. Once again, be careful not to burn them.
Once the sofrito is browned, add in your broth ingredients, the proteins, and the rest of the vegetables except the quicker cooking ones like the chayote (zucchini), greens and corn . Add enough water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vege's are tender.
Add your corn, zucchini and cabbage, if using, and simmer for about another 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more adobo if needed. Add in chopped cilantro at the very end.
Serve with rice and offer avocado and lime wedges on the side. Some hot sauce too if you like it spicy. Enjoy!
You can make a Jamaican version of Sancocho using 2-3 teaspoons of Jamaican Curry Powder and substitute a Habanero or Scotch Bonnet Pepper in your sofrito. Here are the changes I made: I skipped making the annato oil, and used safflower oil. I used green beans instead of zucchini as that's what I had in my fridge. I also used two tablespoons of tomato paste instead of the tomato sauce (had it in the fridge too) and I added it with the curry powder near the end of sauteing the sofrito. It's good to wake up the oils in the spices before adding the liquid. The Jamaican version came out awesome, served with white or brown rice.I'll keep updating as I work my way through the Caribbean islands and I will be trying out new spice blends on Vegan Sancocho as I go! Spice it YOUR Way!