Sancoche

Dumpling Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves:

    6 to 8

Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

This is the Trinidadian version of a popular meal that was often prepared on Sundays throughout the Caribbean because it could be left to simmer over the fire while laborers spent the day at church or worked in the fields. One of my childhood favorites, this thick soup features dumplings shaped like pointy-ended ovals. My father always seemed to have a pot of Sancoche, which my brother and I called “Dumpling Soup,” on the back burner of the stove or in the refrigerator or freezer.

Ingredients

Soup

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless beef or chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 pound white boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ½ pound calabaza or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper or other hot chili pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dumplings

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • teaspoon coarse salt
  • teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or 4-quart saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the meat and sauté until lightly browned. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, then add the stock, thyme, bay leaf, and lentils. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile make the dumplings: Mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter, making sure it is well incorporated into the flour. Gradually add ¼ cup of water or more as needed until you get a firm dough that is not sticky. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to form ovals. Pinch both ends, then flatten the ovals between palms or against a cutting board. The dumplings should resemble small flat footballs. Set aside.
  3. Add the potatoes, calabaza, and whole Scotch pepper to the soup, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, adding more stock if necessary. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add the dumplings and check for seasonings, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Simmer for 15 minutes more. Remove the Scotch pepper, and serve soup hot. (Note: If you’d like to freeze some Sancoche, do so before you add the dumplings; then add them to the soup once you’ve reheated it.)