Sancocho with Aji

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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For the aji:

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

8 scallions, white and light green part only, finely chopped

1/2 small Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)

3/4 cup water

1 small plum tomato, cored and finely chopped, optional


For the soup:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large yellow onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 large tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded and chopped

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 pounds chicken thighs, skin and excess fat removed

2 pounds beef flanken ribs (also called cross-cut ribs)

2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 2-inch long pieces

2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 2 inch long pieces

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, stems tied together with kitchen twine

14 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned low-sodium broth

1 1/2 pounds small red or white potatoes, peeled

3 cups diced pumpkin or butternut squash

10 (2-inch) long pieces frozen yucca

4 ears of corn, husked and quartered

White rice, for serving, optional

1 medium Hass avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and sliced for serving, optional

Arepas or tortillas, for serving, optional


  1. Place the cilantro, scallions, chiles, onions, lime juice and 3/4 cup water in a small glass bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the tomato, if using, season with saltm to taste and stir all of the ingredients together. Cover and set the aji aside at room temperature for several hours to allow the flavors to release into the liquid, then refrigerate until serving.;

For the Soup:

  1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they're soft and transparent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme and continue to cook 5 more minutes. Add the chicken and the beef ribs and cook until the tomatoes have disintegrated, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming the foam from the top of the broth when necessary. Add the green plantains, cilantro, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the plantains are tender, 30 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, ripe plantains, yucca and corn and simmer, uncovered, until both are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the cilantro and the bay leaves and return the chicken to the pot to re-heat it. To serve, arrange a piece of chicken, some beef, plantains, and a few pieces of yucca and potatoes on each plate. Serve the broth in a small bowl, and the aji sauce on the side, along with a bowl of rice, corn, some avocados and arepas or tortillas on separate plates.
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