December 21, 2011

Warm Up Your Holidays w/ A Hearty Stew

The best way to stay warm on these cold winter days is by eating soup/stews. Sancocho is a popular Latin American stew, mostly made out of chunks of meats and veggies in broth. This is one of those versatile recipes that you can add or leave out anything you don't like. 

Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you. This is a one pot meal(not really:) and can be stored in the fridge for days.   

Things you'll need:

  • 3 quarts plus 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1 (1-pound) beef shank (1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 4 chicken thighs with skin and bone
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Cubanelle or other mild frying pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (4 to 5 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems (from 2 bunches)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound unripe (green) plantains
  • 1 pound yuca
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 pound Caribbean pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 2 ears corn, cut into 1 1/2-inch rounds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh Seville orange juice (or 3 tablespoons regular fresh orange juice plus 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice)

  • Accompaniments: white rice; hot sauce; sliced avocado
Garnish: chopped cilantro


Pat beef and chicken dry, putting them in separate bowls. Toss meat in each bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Heat oil in a skillet and brown beef turning occasionally, about 7 minutes. Transfer to pot with slotted spoon. Brown chicken in same manner, transfer to pot.
Add onion, peppers, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet and sauté until softened. Add 1 cup water and boil, 1 minute. Transfer vegetable mixture to pot. Add cilantro stems, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 quarts water to pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam, then simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
While meat simmers, remove green skin from plantains and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces.
Peel yuca removing waxy brown skin and pinkish layer underneath, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, Quarter lengthwise and cut out coarse center fiber.
Seed and peel calabaza, then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Add plantain, potato and yuca to ten in pot and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add calabaza, then simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. 
Add corn and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and all root vegetables are very tender (yuca should be translucent), 10 to 15 minutes. Sancocho broth should be slightly thickened from root vegetables; If not scrape a plantain and add it to the broth. If it's too thick, thin with additional water. Stir in juice and reheat, then season with salt and pepper.

You can substitute a few ingredients with  beef or chicken cubes(the cubes tend to be very salty,so go easy on the salt if using them)

I scrape a plantain for a thicker consistency in my stew 

This is my injection of spiciness


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