This soup/stew has been around for about 400 years. Being Puerto Rican, I was served this soup/stew many times at our table, especially in the colder months. My Obuelita (Grandmother) would always try to make this soup before cold and flu season came about, swearing it could ward off the illness. I have to say there was much truth in her words. Some people make Sancocho as a soup while others make it as a stew -- either way, it is delicious and I’d like to share the recipe with you.
2 pounds beef short ribs or beef tips
¼ pound smoked ham, diced
4 quarts chicken stock or water
½ cup recaito
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 pound calabaza (pumpkin)
1 pound yautia (taro root)
1 pound el camote (sweet potato)
1 pound yucca (cassava root)
3 medium sized green plantains
3 ears of fresh corn
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon pepper (I prefer white to black pepper)
1 quart water
There are different variations to the recipe. My mother likes to add turnips to her soup and sometimes I enjoy adding squash. The great thing about this recipe is that there is no wrong way to make it. If you have root vegetables, throw them in the pot and make any adjustments needed.
All you have to do to cook the Sancocho is peel and dice all of your vegetables, cut your corn down into small 3-inch pieces, and then throw all of the ingredients into a big stock pot. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, then cover it and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover once again, leaving it to simmer a little over an hour, or until all of the vegetables are cooked.
You can adjust or add any seasonings you like. I will make it a little different sometimes to see how it turns out. Sometimes I use loads of spices while other times just the salt and pepper are enough so I can taste the root medley.