Sancocho de Guandú o Guandul

Pigeon Pea Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 10 to 12


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

This sancocho is a bean, beef and salted beef jerky, and pork soup typical of the Caribbean coast. Pigeon peas may be called guandú or guandul depending on the region. Traditionally this soup is made with two pounds each of salted beef and salted pork, which are soaked in water at room temperature for the whole morning, with the water changed three times to remove the saltiness, and then prepared as follows. If using dry guandú beans, first soak them in water overnight to soften. These cannot be substituted; that would be a totally different recipe.


  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 pounds beef ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces or 2 pounds ribs and 1 pound soaked beef jerky
  • 2 pounds pork ribs
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup minced ají dulce* (sweet green peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons mashed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo* seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin*
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 6 cups fresh guandú* beans, washed
  • 2 pound peeled yuca* or cassava, cut into 2- by 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound peeled pumpkin, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound peeled ñame*, cut into 2- by 1-inch pieces
  • 2 ripe plantains*, peeled and cut in ¼-inch dice
  • ½ cup minced scallion
  • ½ cup minced cilantro


  1. If using beef jerky, soak it in water overnight or boil it in water for 20 minutes. Discard the water.
  2. In a large stockpot place 1 tablespoon of the oil, the beef and pork ribs, onion, peppers, garlic, mustard, bouillon cube, adobo seasoning, and cumin. Rub the meats to coat them, and place the pot over medium-high heat to brown for 10 minutes. Add 3 quarts of water, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Add the salt.
  3. While the meats are cooking, in a large pot or caldero*, simmer the guandú beans in 5 cups of water for 2 hours over medium-low heat. After the first 2 hours have passed and the beans feel softened, add the yuca, pumpkin and ñame. Cover and simmer for another 40 minutes.
  4. In a large sauté pan place the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the ripe plantains for 4 to 5 minutes; set aside.
  5. Add the vegetables, their liquids, the plantains, and the minced scallion and cilantro to the meats, and simmer for 15 minutes more.
  6. Serve.