Sancocho, a word often used as slang by Puerto Ricans to mean a big old mix of things, is a rustic stew eaten across the Caribbean and made with every imaginable combination of proteins and vegetables. My father cooked his with beef, corn and noodles; my mom with chicken breasts, lean pork and sweet plantains; my grandmother with beef, pork on the bone and yautia. As such, I’ve rarely used a recipe, so this one is based largely on observation, taste memory and what I like. Pretty much every ingredient can be swapped out, and it also makes for a sumptuous vegetarian dish without meat. Sancocho epitomizes the resilience of Puerto Rican people, as it is often prepared in times of crisis — such as after a hurricane — and made with whatever you have on hand.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    Peel and cut the yuca, yautia, green plantain and yellow plantain into 1-inch pieces. Scrape out the seeds, then chop the calabaza, skin on, into 1-inch pieces. Put each ingredient in a separate bowl, adding water to cover vegetables in order to prevent them from turning brown while you prepare the rest of the soup.
  2. Step 2

    Husk the corn, then slice it into 2-inch-thick segments. Set aside.
  3. Step 3

    Season pork (or beef) and chicken with 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  4. Step 4

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the pork and brown on all sides for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a clean, large bowl, then add the chicken to the same pot, and brown on both sides for another 5 minutes, adding oil as needed if the pot gets dry. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the same bowl as the pork.
  5. Step 5

    Reduce heat to medium and add sofrito to the pot, scraping up any browned bits of meat and incorporating them into the mix. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid has evaporated and mixture darkens in color.
  6. Step 6

    Return the pork, chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the stock, bay leaves and remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Step 7

    To keep the vegetables from falling apart, add each one in order of firmness, cooking each for 5 minutes before adding the next. Begin with the yuca, then yautia, green plantain, yellow plantain, calabaza and corn, cooking the yuca for a total of 30 minutes and the corn for only 5 minutes.
  8. Step 8

    Add chorizo and stir well to incorporate. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat until meat and vegetables are tender and break easily with a fork. Because of all the starches and meat in this dish, this stew tends to be thick and rich. Some of the vegetables will fall apart, giving it a porridge consistency. This is a good thing.
  9. Step 9

    Adjust salt to taste, and serve with fresh bread or white rice on the side.