Colombian Sancocho (Chicken Soup)


One of my favorite recipes is one that is served nearly every afternoon at my boyfriend’s Grandmother’s house in Cali, Colombia. By late morning, when the soup starts to simmer the house smells so friendly and inviting. If you take a walk through the neighborhood you’ll smell much the same thing from wafting out from all of the windows in the city, smelled of this soup.

Sancocho is an inexpensive yet supremely nutritious recipe. Despite the fact that it is so hot in most places in Colombia, soup is very popular. There is a recipe for every region in Colombia. In Bogota I tried the traditional Ajiaco, which is a potato chicken soup. On the coast I loved Sancocho de Pescado. But Ciona’s Sancoho de Gallina (chicken) was my favorite (personally, I skip the corn, but over there it’s tradition).

½ of a whole chicken with giblets
1 yucca root, cubed
1 unripe plantain, cubed
1 celery stalk, diced
1 green onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
sea salt
pinch of pepper
10 cups water

Saute the onion, garlic, celery, tomato, and paprika, in the dry pot until soft.

Add the chicken, skin down and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add water and tbsp of salt. Once the soup is boiling add yucca and plantain. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the yucca and plantain are very soft. Serve with cilantro and avocado on top.

This Sancoho recipe was one of the four recipes US Wellness posted up on their Featured Chef page last week. I am really dying to post the plantain recipe for you all but I thought I’d wait and do a whole entire post on plantain. Plantain is a staple in Latin America and I fell in love with it while I was there. (Yeah I know, it’s too much fiber for me and I’m allergic to bananas so for the most part I stay away but I do so love it and want to share the endless possibilities with you all.)

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  1. so glad i found this blog! i was a vegetarian for 23 years and turned meat eater after colon cancer (which i conquered without any chemo). i need to learn more about how to feed my wee ones (4 and 6) …. we live on wild salmon, greens, vitamineral green (which i sell now) and simple grass fed meat recipes. gotten a bit boring! so i will eagerly try your recipes.
    thank you!
    be so well

    • Awesome! You’re a chemo-free cancer survivor!

      I am hoping to publish an ebook in the coming months of recipes and ideas for kid’s lunches. I imagine that will be pretty useful for you!

      • i would love to check that out! so need ideas, and again, so happy to have connected! my son is sick at the moment and i know it is because we have fallen off and succumbed to grains in recent weeks (newly single mom and have just moved, so off our routine). oh and thanks to no chemo, my daughter logan was conceived literally months after the tumor was removed… while i was still nursing my son hunter, full time! logan, at four, still nurses periodically. i know if i got more meat in my diet, i would have more milk…intuition speaking there.

  2. We just left Colombia, after living there for 3 years, and we now are in Paraguay. I too LOVED all the soups in Colombia and Sancocho was on of my favorites. Oh how I miss Colombia, so far I have found nothing here in Paraguay to love. But it’s early, we’ve only been here 2 months now so we’ll see.

    • Hi Michelle. I fell in love with sancocho on the first day I was there. I hope you find something soon in Paraguay!

  3. Looks great! Probably I have to substitute a (sweet) potatoe for the yucca root for this is totally unavailable in Germany! I cannot wait for the plantain post! I have experimented with them a bit but I didn´t find a lot of recipes where they weren´t deep fried so there is the carb-fat-combination again. But in the recipe above, they are “just” cook, so maybe I am going to try cooking and mashing them as a side dish!

    • All the plantain recipes are high in fat I’m afraid. Except for the soup.

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