Sancocho Valluno

Hearty Chicken Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 12


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Sancocho Valluno comes from the Valle del Cauca department and is usually prepared with free-range hens; you normally find eggs from the hen in the sancocho when it is served. You can prepare it with chicken; just remove it from the soup earlier as the hen is tougher to cook and is left in the pot the whole time. This dish is cooked over log fires at farms and restaurants on the outskirts of the large cities of the Valle, giving it a defined smoky taste and aroma that we usually drive hours to savor.


  • 10 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 whole green onion*
  • 4 leaves cimarrón* or culantro
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 free-range hens or chickens, cut in serving pieces
  • 3 peeled green plantains*, halved lengthwise and cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds peeled yuca, quartered lengthwise, and into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise


  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • cups minced green onions*
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon color* or saffron powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 3 cups white rice, cooked to yield 6 cups
  • 3 avocados, quartered


  1. In a large stockpot, bring quarts of water to a boil. Tie the cilantro, green onion, and cimarrón like a bouquet garni and add to the water. Add the bouillon cubes, salt, and garlic; cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the hen or chicken, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. If using chicken, remove the pieces from the pot; if using free-range hens, just keep simmering in the sancocho. Add the plantain, yuca, and potatoes, and cook for 45 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, MAKE THE GUISO: In a medium pot over medium heat, place the oil, green onions, tomato, garlic, cilantro, bouillon cube, color, and pepper, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock, cook for 5 minutes more. Set aside.
  4. Remove the hen or chicken, potatoes and yuca from the soup pot and add to the guiso. Cook covered for 10 minutes on low heat.
  5. Serve each bowl of sancocho with a teaspoon of minced cilantro in the center. To each plate add 1 chicken piece, a couple of yuca pieces, a potato half, some plantain pieces, ½ cup of rice and a piece of avocado.