Sancocho (Meat and Root Stew)

This meat-filled soup recipe from chef Noemi Guzman is popular in many Latin American countries.

Photo: Jalao NYC
Hands On Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs

This comforting stew recipe from chef Noemi Guzman of Jalao, a traditional Dominican restaurant in New York City, calls for several ingredients that are traditionally used in Dominican cuisine. These ingredients include malanga, auyama, and Cubanelle peppers. While they should be available at a Spanish market, you can also substitute yuquita, or potato for malanga, squash for auyama, and sweet paprika powder for Cubanelle peppers. "Several dishes come to mind, but sancocho is the one that stands out most when thinking of my childhood. It warms me remembering when my mother would make it for me while I was sick, I felt spoiled," shares Guzman. "It is a rich broth filled with stewed meats and roots typical to the Dominican Republic. It is my favorite comfort food. When I make a good sancocho for my family, I feel like I am taking care of them—transmitting love to them."


  • 2 pounds short rib, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 pounds pork, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 3 bell peppers

  • 3 Cubanelle peppers (or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder)

  • 3 onions

  • 3 pounds malanga, divided and cut into pieces

  • 2 pounds auyama, divided and cut into pieces

  • 12 garlic cloves, divided

  • 1 celery stalk, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

  • ¼ teaspoon sugar

  • 1 pound cassava, cut into pieces

  • 2 green plantains, sliced

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked and sliced into wheels

  • 2 tablespoons bitter orange juice (such as Goya)

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 ounce cilantro, plus more to taste


  1. Place cubes of short rib, chicken, and pork in a bowl and toss with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  2. Blend the bell peppers, Cubanelle peppers, onions, 10 garlic cloves and 1 ounce of cilantro, and pour the mixture over the meat. Mix to coat and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add half the auyama, half the malanga, the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, crushed, and celery. Once tubers are soft, set aside.

  4. Make the sancocho: Heat a Dutch oven on high and add the oil. Once it's hot, add the sugar.

  5. When the sugar turns golden, add the marinated meat, and reserve the remaining marinade. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the meat is browned and tender.

  6. When meat is tender, pour in enough water to cover. Once the water begins to boil, add the cassava, plantains, corn, and the rest of the auyama and malanga. Pour in the reserved marinade.

  7. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and the meat pulls apart with a fork.

  8. Blend the boiled auyama and malanga mixture into a purée, and add it to the sancocho until it reaches your preferred thickness. Let it cook a little longer if you would like it to thicken more, and season with salt as needed.

  9. Stir in the bitter orange juice.

  10. Pour the sancocho into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with white rice and sliced avocado.

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