Sancocho Costeño

Caribbean Sancocho


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 12


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

This is a dish to be served for a crowd ready to treat itself with some real slow home cooking. I love it, and prepare it with the ripe plantain and lime juice cooked within the soup, not separately. On the coast, we cut all the roots and vegetables, cook them in the soup, and add rice and lime juice at the end. Kale is the green we deem essential in any good Sancocho Costeño.


  • 8 pounds beef ribs, cut up
  • 2 free-range hens, cut in serving pieces, without skin
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • cups minced scallion
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ¾ cup diced carrot
  • ½ cup minced ají dulce (sweet green peppers)
  • tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon color* or turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin*
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 3 pounds peeled yuca or cassava,
  • 2 peeled green plantains*
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • pounds peeled ñame*
  • pounds peeled pumpkin
  • 2 pounds corn on the cob (4 ears)
  • ¾ cup minced cilantro, plus extra for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 2 unpeeled ripe plantains*, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 3 cups white rice, cooked to yield 6 cups, for serving
  • Sliced limes, for serving


  1. Wash the beef and hen pieces well. Rub with 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, and drain. Place in a very large bowl; add cups of the minced scallion, the kale, carrot, peppers, garlic, black pepper, color, cumin, 1 bouillon cube, and tablespoons of the salt. Rub all the seasonings into the meats, and set aside for 2 hours.
  2. In a large stockpot, place the seasoned beef and chicken, and cook covered over high heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.
  3. Add 10 quarts of water to the meats, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  4. In the meantime cut the yuca, 1 of the green plantains, the potatoes, ñame, pumpkin, and corn into pieces about 2 inches by 1 inch; grate the other green plaintain and set aside.
  5. When the meats have simmered for 1½ hours, add the yuca and the plantains to the pot and cook covered for 30 minutes.
  6. Next add the remaining tablespoons of salt and 2 chicken bouillon cubes, the potatoes, ñame, pumpkin, corn, ¼ cup of the minced cilantro, celery, and the allspice. Continue to cook for 45 minutes more.
  7. Add the ripe plantains and 3 tablespoons of lime juice, and keep simmering for 30 minutes more. (You can also cook the ripe plantains in water separately so that your soup doesn’t taste too sweet and then add them right before serving.)
  8. Finally, add the remaining ¾ cup of minced scallion and ½ cup of the minced cilantro and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Serve the meats and vegetables on different platters, the broth in another serving dish, and white rice, lime slices, and minced cilantro on the side.