Sancocho (Dominican Hearty Stew) is without doubt Dominican's most cherished dish. Sancocho is usually made for special occasions, but you can enjoy it any day.
The Dominican sancocho is synonymous with fiesta. In the Dominican Republic, we are spontaneous and happy people who do not need excuses to celebrate. Where there are two or more Dominicans a party can suddenly break out, but sometimes the occasion requires more planning and preparation. It is in that kind of occasions when it is indispensable that someone knows how to make a sancocho.
If it’s your turn, our sancocho recipe is here to rescue you.
What is sancocho?
Let’s start with the name: It’s sancocho, not “salcocho”.
Sancocho is a meat and roots-based stew that appears in different forms in several countries of Latin America, especially the countries bordering the Caribbean Sea. There are several Colombian sancochos, I’ve tried the Panamanian sancocho de gallina. There is a Venezuelan sancocho and a Puerto Rican sancocho. In some parts, they have sancocho with other names: Sancochado, Sopón, Olla de Carne, etc. As a funny note, in Cuba “sancocho” is a derogatory name that describes the food that is given to pigs.
In short, there are sancochos to spare, and each country has its own tastes in this regard.
In the Dominican Republic, there are also different versions of sancocho, these will depend on the taste of each family and of each cook. Some rules, though, seem to be almost universal: never add potatoes, noodles, or tomato sauce. The traditional sancocho is made with beef (usually flank, or similarly inexpensive cut), and sometimes chicken or a gallina vieja (an old hen) is also added. Sancocho de Siete Carnes is the deluxe version, and it has 7 types of meat from 4 different animals.
It is also worth mentioning the Sancocho “Prieto” (“prieto” is black in our country). It is so-called because by the long cooking at low temperatures it acquires a dark brown color, in contrast to the orange-brown color of the “normal” sancocho, which obtains much of its color from the auyama (pumpkin).
Sancocho is usually prepared on special occasions since it contains many ingredients and its preparation is long. However, the time it takes to prepare is the time that best passes with friends, while drinking a little rum or a cold beer.
Sancocho de Siete Carnes (Seven Meat Hearty Stew) Recipe
- 1 lb beef for stews flank, chuck, or round [0.45 kg]
- 1 lb goat meat [0.45 kg]
- 1 lb pork sausage longaniza [0.45 kg]
- 1 lb pork for stews belly, or chump end [0.45 kg]
- 1 lb chicken [0.45 kg]
- 1 lb pork ribs [0.45 kg]
- 1 lb bones from a smoked ham [0.45 kg]
- Juice of two limes
- 1 tsp cilantro or parsley chopped
- 1/2 tsp oregano powdered
- 1 tsp garlic mashed
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp oil corn, peanut, or canola
- 2.5 quart water [2.5 lt]
- 1/2 lb yam ñame cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg]
- 1/2 lb West Indies pumpkin auyama cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg]
- 1/2 lb taro yautia cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg]
- 3 unripe plantains 2 cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 lb cassava cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg]
- 2 corn cobs cut into 1/2-inch slices, optional
- Cut all the meat into small pieces. Coat the meat with the lime juice (except the pork sausage).
- Place the beef in a large bowl and add the cilantro, oregano, garlic, and half a teaspoon of salt. Rub meat to cover with the spices. Marinate for at least half an hour.
- In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat, add the beef and stir (be careful with hot oil splattering). Cover and and simmer for 10 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if it looks like it might burn.
- Add the pork and simmer for 15 minutes, adjust water when necessary. Add the rest of the meat to the pot (except for the chicken) and simmer for another 15 minutes, adding tablespoons of water as needed to prevent it from burning.
- Add the remaining meat and simmer for another 5 minutes, adding tablespoons of water as needed to prevent it from burning.
- Add 2 quarts of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the ñame, auyama, yautía and the two plantains that you had previously cut. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Grate, or scrape with the knife the remaining plantain to make it into a pulp, add to the pot. Add all remaining ingredients (minus the salt) and add water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level. Stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking.
- Simmer until the last ingredients you added are cooked through.
- Season with salt to taste. Serve hot with white rice, slices of avocado and garnish with hot sauce or agrio de naranja