Dominican Sancocho, SANCOCHO

The sancocho is a stew that is traditional and very representative of the Dominican Republic. It's made with many meats and starchy tubers vegetables and is prepared almost always on special occasions, holidays or on rainy and cold days in the island. Its origin appears to be between the taíno ajiaco and the Spanish stew. Colombia, Ecuador and Puerto Rico also have sancocho in their cuisines that are very similar to ours.

I dedicated this post to my daughters and my nieces so that they too can continue with the culture of the traditional Dominican cuisine. I also would like to congratulate all the Dominicans who celebrate their Independence Day on February 27th, and what a better way to celebrate it than with this special dish! To the readers who have requested me to share this recipe…. mission is accomplished! I hope you enjoy it.

The following recipe is the one I always use to prepare this dish, but it is slightly reduced. No matter how much I try, when it comes to preparing sweet beans or sancocho, I don't know how to cook a small portion of it, as much as I try to make a little, I always end up with a BIG pot. If you find that this recipe is still too much, you may halve or quarter the ingredients. You can also substitute the vegetables and meats for others or even omit some.

Sancocho Recipe


1 hen or a chicken
2 pounds of beef
2 pounds of pork meat
2 pounds pork chops (can be smoked)
2 pounds of sausage
sazón for seasoning meats
2-3 sour oranges or lemon juice to clean and season

Tubers vegetables:
5 rulos or 5 green bananas
4 plantains
3 corn on cob chopped in two to three inches wheels
3 medium-sized potatoes
2 medium yucas
2 carrots
2 pounds of malanga (yautias)
2 pounds of auyama (squash/pumpkin)
2 pounds yams (ñame)
1 Sweet Potato (batata)

Sancocho stock:
2 teaspoons of oregano
2 onions processed in blender
1 ½ Tablespoons mashed garlic
1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
4 wide coriander (culantro) leaves
2 chicken cubes
2 green peppers cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 sour orange
2 tablespoons vinegar
6 liter of water


The meats:
1. Cut and wash the meat with sour orange or lemon juice. Season with oregano, garlic, onion, salt and pepper to taste or with dominican seasoning and let marinate at least 30 minutes.

2. In a pot with a little of hot oil add a pinch of sugar and let the sugar turn amber in color, then add the chicken and let sauté until it obtains a golden color. Add a little bit of chopped auyama and 2-3 cups water, preferably hot. Cook until chicken has soften and has enough broth, be careful not to overcook since you’ll will add to the sancocho stock later on and it will continue to cook for a few minutes more. Reserve.

3. Cook the remaining meats separately and in the same way as the chicken, striving to keep each one with enough broth. Reserve. If you use smoked pork chop, season with a bit of sour orange and ground oregano and fry. There is no need to season the sausage, just chop into 2-3 inch pieces and also fry. Reserve.

Tubers vegetables:
4. Peel all vegetables and cut into medium-sized pieces. Note: I cut the plantains and into diagonal pieces and the rulos or green bananas in two to make it easier to identify at the time of serving. Leave the vegetables in water with salt to avoid them from darkening until the stock boils to add them into the pot.

Sancocho broth:
5. In large pot or two medium-sized pots place 5 quarts of water, add salt to taste and reserve the other liter of water to add later if needed. Once water begins to boil add the two chicken or beef bouillons, plantains, yautias, corn, onion blended with a bit of water, green pepper, half of the auyama, cilantro and culantro. When the plantains, yautias, have tenderized a little, add the remaining vegetables and the meats with its broth, reserving the sausage and other half of pumpkin (auyama) for later.

6.When it begins to thicken, add the rest of the auyama, the sausage, sour orange, garlic and check for salt and pepper. Let boil until the auyama softens, but don't let it thicken too much as it thicken more as it cools in pot. Serve with white rice, avocado and tabasco sauce.

Yield: Makes approximately 15 servings

a) If you like, you can cook the meat the day before and store them in the refrigerator. This will save you time and make preparing this dish a lot easier.

b) If some tubers vegetables become tender too fast, you can remove them from the pot and set aside until the sancocho is almost done. You can then return them to broth to heat minutes before removing from fire.

c) If you have left over sancocho and you would like to warm it up later or the following day but find that it has thickened a lot, boil some water with a little salt in separate pot and then add the necessary amount to the pot of stew. Cook until heated completely and has your preferred consistency.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.~ Jeremiah 29:11-13

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