Sancocho is a traditional Puerto Rican soup which includes a large variety of root vegetables. It is eaten most regularly during Christmastime. Most of us, Puerto Ricans, have some memory of finishing a long night of parrandas with a delicious sancocho. That comforting flavor just tastes like home. We have prepared a vegan version of this delicious dish for all to enjoy!
2 cups plantains, diced (about 3 plantains)
2 cups green bananas, diced (about 4 bananas)
2 cups yuca, diced (about 2 medium roots)
2 cups yautia, diced (about 2 large roots)
2 cups malanga, diced (about 1 large root)
2 cups ñame, diced (about ½ a large root)
2 cups potato, diced (about 2 large potatoes)
½ cup olive oil
15 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup sofrito
8 oz tomato sauce
2 pkts sazon, with achiote
1 tbs salt
8 cups of water
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Getting your Vegetables
Sancocho is a hearty stew, made from a variety of root vegetables that are commonly found in Puerto Rico. And the first thing you need to do is collect all of the ingredients, which calls for a shopping trip. We are going to need platanos, green bananas, yuca, yautia, malanga, name, and potatoes, and one great place to find all of these is the Plaza del Mercado in downtown Mayaguez. This plaza acts as a central hub for farmers in the area, who come to the Plaza every morning to drop off goods for sale, so you know all of the produce here is as fresh as can be, and the variety is unrivaled.
In addition to being a great place to buy your produce, the Plaza del Mercado is also a great place to learn more about Puerto Rican produce, and how people typically used it. So we took this opportunity to chat with one of the vendors, who helped us learn how to pick out the best produce, which can sometimes be tricky with root vegetables.
Then, with our box full of the things we needed to make sancocho, we headed back home, to get the dish started.
Peeling the Vegetables
Once you’ve collected all of your ingredients, you want to peel them. We’ve shown you how to peel most of these in our other videos, so we are going to spend too much time on that.
For the bananas and plantains, you want to cut off the ends, and then run a knife along the edges to pierce the thick skin. Once you’ve pierced the skin in three or four places, you should be able to use your hands, to peel away the green skin, leaving the flesh underneath. If there are still pieces of green left after you’ve peeled them, just cut that away with a knife.
For the yuca and yautia, I like to use a heave vegetable peeler, to remove the outer skin. I’ve found this method to be the most efficient, just make sure to peel all the way down to the white flesh underneath the skin. If you find any discolored spots, just go ahead and cut those out with a knife.
Do the same thing for the yautia. With the yautia, you’ll want to make sure to wash it thoroughly before peeling it, in order to avoid smearing any dirt from the outside onto the yautia.
Because they have thicker skin, I find it easier to use a knife for the malanga and the ñame. Just hold the root against a flat cutting surface, and then use your knife to cut away the skin, leaving just the flesh underneath.
Finally, go ahead and peel your potatoes, with the vegetable peeler.
Cutting the Vegetables
There are a couple things you want to keep in mind as you are cutting your vegetables.
First, you want to try and keep all of the pieces about the same size. This way, you can ensure they cook evenly--you don’t want some of your vegetables to still be raw while others are fully cooked.
Second, for the yuca, you’ll want to cut it in half lengthwise, in order to remove a fibrous vein that runs down the middle of the root. This vein is edible, but its very tough and alot of people don’t find it very pleasant.
Finally, make sure to cut away any discolored or soft portions of your roots. These might have off flavors, that you don’t want to introduce into your sancocho.
Making the Dish
With all of your ingredients prepared, the rest of this recipe is very simple. First, heat up a large pan over high heat and add your olive oil. Once it’s hot, go ahead and add your crushed garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is softened.
Once the garlic is cooked, go ahead and add your sofrito and keep sauteing. You’ll want to saute your sofrito for 4-5 minutes, until most of the water in the sofrito has evaporated.
Next, add your tomato sauce and your sazon. Saute another 2-3 minutes, in order to let all of the flavors combine.
Once your sauce has thickened, go ahead and add your salt. Then add all of your root vegetables, except your ñame, which we’ll add later. The name cooks faster than the other vegetables, so if you add it now, it would basically have dissolved by the time the other vegetables are cooked.
Stir your root vegetables to combine them with the sauce of sofrito and tomato sauce; then let them saute for 4-5 minutes. Next, add your water, put the lid on and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Once your sancocho is boiling, go ahead and add your name. The other vegetables have got a sufficient head start on the cooking that everything should be ready to eat at the same time.
Keep boiling your sancocho with the lid on, until all of your vegetables are fork tender. Make sure to try each type of vegetable, to make sure that everything is cooked.
Once fork tender, turn off your stove, add your chopped cilantro and replace the lid for 5 minutes. This allows the aromatic flavor of the fresh cilantro to blend into the sancocho, giving it a great herbaceous finish.
And now you’re read to serve yourself a bowl of this delicious sancocho.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.