Colombian Chicken Stew: Sancocho

Quote: "It shouts out loud: I really care for you!" I lived in Colombia, South America, and Sancocho is the ultimate in comfort food there[! And like in Italian homes, each family has their own version of lasagna; this is my personalized version of the soup. It is believed that it is so powerful that it can bring the dead back to life. That is why it is served after every party and makes the perfect Sunday meal!]

6 to 8 servings
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 small Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 habenero chile, chopped
  • 2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 small yucca, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 green plantain, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 all-purpose potatoes, halved
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 ears corn, cut in 3 pieces

In a blender, puree the garlic, carrots, peppers, onion, chile, and 1 cup cilantro.

In a large pot, combine the puree with the water, bouillon cubes, and cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the chicken and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Add the yucca and green plantain and simmer for 10 minutes more. Add the potatoes, ripe plantain, and corn and simmer for another 15 minutes.

In a blender, combine the remaining 1 cup cilantro and a little of the stew broth and puree. Stir the puree into the soup, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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    I served this soup to my Colombian father-in-law in traditional La Chamba bowls and he was in heaven. The soup is very flavorful and hearty. You definitely don't need a side dish. It makes a lot but freezes well and tastes even better reheated. An outstanding soup! 
    On a side note, I'd recommend getting frozen yucca instead of fresh. It's much easier to deal with! Also, never eat it raw or undercooked since it's the cooking process that removes the cyanide.
    Yummy. We loved your recipe.
    Taste great!
    This was delicious. Thank you so much for posting. I'm sorry about all the ill-tempered reviewers out there who are outraged over the authenticity of the recipe. Don't let them discourage you! Keep the recipes coming! You were very clear about this being your own take on it. Thanks a lot.
    While I am pretty sure this is not an authentic recipe of Columbia, the ingredients intrigued me.... so I gave it a shot and it didn't turn out quite like I had imagined... The amount of time that you give the ingredients to cook was really off to make it a stew and your directions were missing a few instructions for the ingredients you listed. I cooked it quite a bit longer and had to tweak this recipe to make it like I had imagined it... pretty good... I would probably give this the name, "Latin Chicken Stew" rather than the Sancocho....
    sounds like home recipe!!! this nourishes the soul!!!!
    Wow, not sure if this is a good recipe, but it is not a true Colombian dish. There are no peppers in this dish and definitely No Habenero. Colombian cuisine does not use chilies. My family is from Cali Colombia. Please rename your recipe.
    I do agree that is not a traditional Colombian Sancocho but it's still great. I made it for my family from Colombia and my mom like it allot
    Unfortunately, not for those who dislike eating corn and potatoes. Very hearty. Use a big, big pot.
    I'm sorry, but the recipe for this "Sancocho Soup" is not like the soup that I grew up eating. My family is from Cali, Colombia and the ingredients that you included in this recipe are incorrect. I suggest you look into the true ingredients that a "Colombian Sancocho" includes and put that on your website. Now, if you are trying to replace the true ingredients, then please say so, but this recipe is not the sancocho recipe. Thanks.
    When I saw this recipe, I wondered if the sancocho you refered to was actually colombian or panamenian. Being next door neighbors, many colombian restaurants in Panama call their sancocho "ajiaco". But this recipe is neither the panamenian sancocho or the colombian ajiaco. Both very similar in nature but with variations in the ingredients used. Both delicious and I highly recomend them for cold season.
    Being Colombian and all I was shocked to read this recipe. The secret ingredient for the sancocho is the arracacha. This sort of potato is the cherry on the icing that gives it that ultimate amazing flavour. The real sancocho as well does NOT have any bell peppers!!
    I thought this stew was delicious. The next time I make it I will leave out the ripe plantains - too soft. I had never had yucca before and I thought it was great.
    Looks like a great recipe but I have to give it one star based on spelling alone considering she lived there.
    I love this & so does the family...
    This soup is very good. I knew that a habanero pepper is VERY spicy, but I was still suprised at how much punch it gave considering how much this recipe makes. I have a big pot (I think 12 quarts?) but I had to use 2 pots since it just wasn't big enough. After I cooked the corn, I took it out, cut off the kernels and put it back in to make it easier to eat.
    i'm not a good cook at all but this dish made me out to be an excelent cook. the dish is different from anything i have tasted before. it was very very tasty.
    magnificent I which you would provide more colombian recipes
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