Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Sancocho" - Dominican Beef Soup with plantain dumplings

It's chilly outside I know and you are craving for a delicious hearty meal. 
I thought of a warm "Sancocho" would be perfect for dinner. 

"Sancocho" meaning parboiled is a traditional hearty stew-like soup for Dominicans. 

There are several meats used when making this hearty meal.
Poultry like chicken (pollo) hen (gallina), or oxtail tail (rabo),beef (res), soup beef ribs, pork, domincan pork sauge (longaniza), as well as a "seven meat" (siete carnes) revision. 

However, for tonight will just be my simpler beef cubed one.

Tons of tropical starchy vegetables like cassava (yuca), corms (malanga,name,yautia), potato (papa), green plantains (platano verde)and yams (calabaza), corn on a cob (mazorca). 

Here is a picture of what corms look like. It looks a lot like cassava. Corms, cassava nor corn will not be added to tonight's version. 

On the left - Culantro (other names for this herb) Saw leaf herb, leafy coriander or recaito.
On the right - Cilantro (other names for this herb) Chinese parsley or coriander 

One more amazing ingredient is the Scotch Bonnet Pepper. These caribbean peppers are hot or mild. The hot one or as is usually called "Jamaican Pepper". We use a much milder one and stores label it as the sweet Caribbean pepper (cachucha pepper ). Remember to remove the stems and seeds. 

Let's get this yummy soup/stew started. 

Serves 3-4



1 green plantain
2 potatoes cubed
1 cup of fresh cubed yam
Saw leaf herb culantro 
3-4 Scotch Bonney sweet peppers (seeded/stemmed)
1 small onion peeled but kept whole
3 large grated garlic cloves
1/2 green pepper left whole 
1 chicken boullion envelope
Hot sauce *optional
Florida avocado (ready to eat)
Large pot


2 1/2 cup of cubed beef
Adobo for seasoning for taste
1/4 c of Goya Bitter Orange (Naranja Agria)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Medium bowl
Saran Wrap 

Soup dressing

2 plum tomatoes diced
Juice of half a lemon
3 Culantro leaves chopped
1 tbsp of chopped cilantro 
1 tbsp of ketchup
Small bowl
Saran Wrap
Florida avocado  


2 cups of white rice
Sea salt for taste
Medium bowl
Rice cooker


1 green plantain


Prepping Soup dressing

In a small bowl add diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped culantro, lemon juice and ketchup. Stir well, cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate. 

Marinate beef:

Wash the cubed beef. Cut into smaller cubes if you like. In a medium bowl add beef, adobo, cumin, dried oregano and bitter orange. Stir to blend well. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate till ready to add to the soup. 

Base for the Soup

In a large pot over high heat boil 4 cups of water adding the yams, sliced plantain, scotch peppers, culantro & cilantro. Boil till yams are fork tender. This may take 15-20 minutes. 

Retrieve marinated beef from the fridge and set aside.  

Once yams are fork tender transfer it and all the vegetables from in the pot (except the stock) to the blender. Pulse - blend until all is liquified. May spoon some stock in the mix if needed. 

In the meantime, add the marinated beef into the same pot. Stir and now add the liquid yam mix back to the pot. Stir and add more water. 

Let boil for about 10-15. Adding potatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, chicken bouillon. As you can see your soup is green or a slight orange if your yam was rich in color. Stir occasionally for as this soup gets thick. This helps avoid sticking to the bottom of your pot and burning. Which you do not want happening. 

While the soup simmers. Peel your plantain. 

In a small bowl grate the plantain. 

You may grate some garlic to the dumplings and even season it if you desire to. I kept mines plain. 

Using a teaspoon scoop some of the mushy plantain and carefully place into the soup. Do not stir for this will break up the raw dumplings. 

Lower heat to low/medium cover and cook till dumplings have cooked throughly and potatoes are fork 
tender. Usually this takes another 7-12 minutes. 

Uncover and stir gently. 

Five minutes before serving you may add fresh cilantro and culantro.


In a medium bowl add rice. Wash rice under cold water. Rinse till water is clear. Transfer washed rice to your rice cooker and salt to taste. Cover and let cook. 

When rice cooker rings wait another 2-3 minutes then uncover and fluff rice with fork. Careful you don't scratch the bottom of the pan. Cover. 

Remove soup dressing from fridge and set aside. Slice avocado and set aside. 

Plate and serve soup. Garnish with a tablespoon or two of rice, soup dressing, a slice of avocado and hot sauce of choice. 


Bon Apetit. 

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