Sancocho De Gallina Colombian Chicken Soup

El Rancho de Lalo

Sancocho is a soup/stew that is very popular in Colombia. The texture is loose like soup but with the depth of a stew. It is made with fresh sweetcorn, a staple food in Colombia, and the spicing comes from a paste called aliños which is made from peppers, cumin, garlic and achiote. This version is best using a boiling hen, but you can use a chicken instead. Sancocho is often eaten alongside rice which you dip into the soup as you eat.


  • 1 large whole chicken, jointed in 4 or 8 pieces
  • 3 litres cold water
  • 120 ml aliňos paste
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 450 g frozen or fresh yuca (cassava), in chunks
  • 3 cobs sweetcorn, cut into thirds
  • ¼ bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt and black pepper


Put your jointed chicken in a large pot, cover with the cold water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down immediately until the water barely blips and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Stir in the aliños paste, green plantains and a teaspoon of salt. Skim any froth from the surface of the stock that occurs at this stage. Cover and cook for another 30–40 minutes, keeping the heat low.

Add the potatoes, yuca, corn and plenty of black pepper, and continue to cook everything for 30 minutes or so, until the yuca and potatoes are tender when a fork is inserted into them. Stir in the fresh coriander.

Serve the sancocho in shallow soup bowls, with boiled rice on the side if you like. Make sure each bowl contains both chicken and vegetables. Eat the chicken from the bone and the corn straight from the cob – don’t be afraid to use your hands!