Sancocho Dominicano is a delicious and satisfying soup dish made with various types of meat, starches, and vegetables. The dish is among the national dishes in the Dominican Republic. Sancocho is a complete meal and may be eaten as a dish or served alongside starchy foods like rice and bread.
This hearty dish is often prepared during special occasions since it includes many ingredients and a prolonged cooking time. Some homes prepare a big pot and leave it stewing the entire day so that they enjoy a hearty meal at the end of the day. Nevertheless, you can prepare this mouth-watering for lunch, dinner, or other times.
Sancocho Dominicano is a popular traditional dish in several Latin American countries and the Caribbean, it is prepared by slowly simmering different meats with starchy ingredients and vegetables. The ingredients differ depending on the region and preference. The vegetables may include green plantains, yuca, potatoes, pumpkin, and corn.
Sancocho is a very old culinary delicacy that has traveled across various continents. It is a variation of the traditional Spanish Cocido, a stew prepared by boiling a combination of meats, sausages, cabbage, carrots, and garbanzo beans. Sancocho traces its origin to Europe and the African tropics.
The first sancocho originated from the Canary Islands, a Spanish colony in the African continent. The people of the Canary brought this delicacy with them when the Spanish colony moved them as slaves to Puerto Rico.
The story has it that the women in the Canary Islands used to leave a big pot of stew simmering until their men returned from work to a hot fulfilling meal at home. It was a dish every man would look forward to having after a day’s work.
The original sancocho prepared in the Canary Islands contained fish as the chief meat ingredient. The country being an archipelago surrounded by water, fish was probably among the staple foods of the people of Canary.
Over time, the dish spread and was adopted across the South Americas but with several new ingredients. The new ingredients gave rise to the emergence of numerous variations of the sancocho.
In Ecuador, their version of sancocho is usually prepared with pork, while in El Salvador, they prepare it is made with cow innards. The people from Puerto Rico cook the dish using fish, beef, and chicken. As the dish spread, it reached the Dominican Republic, where new ingredients from the country saw the birth of sancocho Dominicano. The Dominican Sancocho tends to use whichever meat is available.
Aside from the meats, other ingredients that go into sancocho are usually starchy vegetables. They include cassava, potatoes, malanga, potatoes, and other starchy ingredients. Chickpeas or garbanzos are sometimes added to enhance the texture of the dish.
Other fruits and vegetables include plantains, pumpkin, celery, and carrots. Spices like garlic, ginger, chili sauce, and oregano are added to flavor the dish.
Today, many homes across South America have their version of the dish. The variations reflect regional tastes and the abundance of the country. One ingredient links the sancocho Dominicano to the original sancocho despite the variations; green plantains. Green plantain releases its waxy starches into the soup and gives the vegetables a firm texture.
Sancocho Dominicano and sancocho Cubano are quite similar. However, the two hearty dishes are slightly different. The Sancocho Cubano recipe uses beef as the only meat ingredient. In contrast, the sancocho Dominicano recipe can use one type of meat or combine several types of meat in one pot. Tomato paste is among the ingredients in the Cuban sancocho. On the other hand, sancocho Dominicano does not include tomato paste in its ingredients. The vegetables used in the two dishes may vary due to their availability in the two regions.
Sancocho Dominicano Recipe
- ½ kg beef breast
- ½ kg smoked pork chops
- ½ kg chicken meat
- ½ kg chorizo
- 600g yucca (Cassava)
- 600g pumpkin
- 600g yautia (Malanga)
- 300g corn on the cob
- 3 large bananas
- 2 medium-size plantain
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ large onions
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 leaves of tropical cilantro
- A small bunch of cilantro
- A small bunch of celery
- 2 sour oranges
- 1 sweet green pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 liters of meat stock
- Trim off the excess fat on the meats and wash each meat separately. Cut the meat into bite-size chunks and keep them in separate bowls.
- Cut the onions finely. Do the same for the bell pepper. Cut the cassava, corn, pumpkin, yautia, green banana, and plantain into 1½-inch sizes.
- Put the garlic, half parsley, and half cilantro branches into a mortar. Add oregano and a teaspoon of salt into the mortar and mash everything with the pestle.
- Make a bouquet with the rest of the parsley, cilantro, and celery tied with kitchen thread.
- Season each meat with crushed garlic, sweet green pepper, sour orange juice, onion, oregano, pepper, and salt. Remember to season the meats separately.
- Add the plantain, yautia, banana, cassava, half of the pumpkin, and corn in another bowl. Add the seasoned chicken, mix everything well and cover the bowl. Let this rest for a while.
- Add two tablespoons of oil into a thick-bottomed pot and allow the oil to heat. Sauté the pork chops first, then add the beef breast followed by the chorizo. Now cook the pot over medium heat for about 15 minutes while being keen not to let them burn. You can add a bit of the beef stock if necessary.
- After the 15 minutes have elapsed, add enough beef stock to cover the food and add the remaining pumpkin. Add the bouquet of cilantro, parsley, and celery. Let the pot cook over medium-low heat for another 15 minutes. Keep removing the foam that forms on the surface
- Add two tablespoons of oil to another pan. Add the sugar and allow it to brown. Pay attention not to burn it. Place the chicken pan and stir to avoid burning the sugar. Cook the chicken for 15 minutes, and add some beef stock if necessary.
- Add banana, pumpkin, plantain, cassava, corn, and yautia to the big pot of simmering meat. Allow it to cook for about 15 minutes, and add the chicken.
- Remove the bouquet of cilantro, parsley, and celery and discard. Blend half of the cooked pumpkin, plantain, and yautia. Put the blended mixture back into the pot. Check if the salt and pepper are to taste and add if necessary. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes while eliminating any foam that forms on the surface.
- If the soup is not as thick as you prefer, continue simmering with the pot uncovered until the soup thickens. If it is very thick, add water as necessary.
- Turn off the heat and allow the dish to stand for a few minutes before serving. Serve with white rice and a slice of avocado. Add some hot sauce if you prefer.
- This recipe requires patience because it takes quite some time to prepare all meats and vegetables, but the stew is rewarding and worth the wait. Remember that you need to start cooking from the ingredients that take a long to cook to those that take a shorter time to cook.
- Cut all vegetables to a uniform size.
- Use a large pot – preferably the largest in your home.
- Do not feel constrained when choosing the meats to use. Use different cuts of meats, beef, chicken, or pork. The number of meats will depend on your taste.
- Different meats have different cooking times. Please start with the one that cooks the fastest, remove from the pot and set it aside. Add it back into the pot near the end of cooking. You can also cook the various types of meat in separate pots and eventually combine them in one pot.
- If you peel the root veggies ahead of time, keep them soaked in slightly salty water to prevent them from oxidizing. This helps the veggies retain their color.
- Different roots cook at different rates. Add them at appropriate times so that they do not disappear into the soup when overcooked.
- If you prefer, use smoked meats to enhance the flavor of this wonderful dish.
- You can add some water to increase the soup if the dish is to serve many.
- Use corn on the cob and slice it into 1½-inch size to make it easy to cook and eat. Corn is an optional ingredient; you can skip it.
- Use a variety of meats but avoid meats with excessive fats. Such meats will make your dish very oily, and you do not want that. If you use fatty meat, you can use a tablespoon to scrape and discard the floating oil to avert oily Dominican sancocho.
Sancocho Dominicano Calories
As typical with sancocho Dominicano, the ingredients in the dish vary from home to home, depending on availability and preference. Therefore, it is hard to give the exact calorific details of this delicious dish. The estimated calorific value is about 445 kilocalories.
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