Sancocho is a broth in many Latin American cultures. It loosely translates to mean soup but if you ask Latin Americans about Sancocho they all have varying descriptions of what that soup looks and tastes like. I was first introduced to Sancocho 15 years ago, when I worked in the Garment District in New York City. There was an amazing Dominican (Dominican Republic) restaurant a few blocks away from my office and it served the most delicious Sancocho. Their sancocho was chicken based and had root veggies and noodles. It had a rich cassava broth (cassava cooked until tender and melted) and was the perfect “pick me upper” lunch on a dreary New York City winter day.
It has been a crazy wintry Spring week in Colorado. We don’t get these types of dreary snowy weeks often but when we do they tend to feel so heavy and boy is this week one of those weeks where the sun is just hiding behind snow clouds. So I really wanted something warm and comforting for dinner. Enter the Sancocho!
It’s all in the broth!
The key to great sancocho is in the broth. For this recipe I needed a chicken bone broth, so I cooked a whole chicken in my instant pot for an hour before adding the remaining ingredients. This is not a quick soup. Traditionally it is cooked on the stove top for hours. The instant pot cuts some of that time down but it still takes time. To season my chicken I used a mixture of fresh and dry ingredients. Lots of onion, fresh garlic, some celery that was on its last leg and two table spoons of McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning (yes you read that right). The McCormick’s seasoning is gluten and sugar free and Whole30 compliant according to the ingredients list. Please note however it does have “natural flavor” listed as an ingredient which some Whole30’ers like to avoid.
Once the chicken pressure cooked to a lovely bone broth, I used two forks and shredded the flesh away from the bones. Feel free to remove the chicken and do this part on a cutting board. You may also choose to discard the bones, but I wanted all that rich flavor that comes from the bones to remain in the pot and kept everything in the soup.
Root Veggies make this soup a winner
This soup is a great “kitchen sink” type of soup. Anything in the tuber, root vegetable family goes. I added yuca (cassava), sweet potatoes (two kinds, white/golden and regular), yams and yellow plantains to my soup. Cooking the cassava until it is soft and almost melts away adds such a rich and comforting depth of flavor to the soup that it reminded me of that Sancocho I got in New York. You can also do this with white potatoes. Sometimes I add whole white potatoes to thicken my chicken soups. Cook them until tender, remove from the soup, crush and add back into the soup as a thickener for the broth. It really gives the broth a heartiness that sometimes chicken soup is lacking.
The Printable Sancocho Recipe:
- 1 whole chicken (cut in half)
- 1 yellow onion, roughly cut
- 6-8 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1-2 stalks of celery roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 1.5 lbs of Cassava, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces (or store bought frozen)
- 1 white/golden sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 yellow plantains, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 yam, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- Additional salt to taste (if needed)
- A pinch of ground turmeric (less than ¼ teaspoon for color)
- 4-5 cups of water
- Add the chicken, onions, garlic, celery, dried thyme and McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning to your instant pot and enough water to cover the chicken (about 4-5 cups of water).
- Seal up and pressure cook on high for 1 hour, following your instant pot instructions for pressure cooking
- After an hour of pressure cooking, release the steam then add the cassava (if using)
- Seal up and pressure cook for 5 minutes (does not include time for the Instant Pot to pressurize)
- Then release the steam, add the remaining root veggies and additional salt if need
- Next seal up and cook on high pressure for another 3 minutes (does not include time for the instant pot to pressurize)
- Then release the steam, give it a good stir and it is ready
- Alternatively after step 2 above, you can just put the instant pot on sauté add the cassava, then cook until the cassava is soft, then add the other veggies and continue to cook on sauté until those are soft. This takes between 20 to 30 minutes
- This soup is best served hot!
It freezes really well and is great for meal prepping. Make a big pot on Sunday, portion into zip top bags and freeze!
Try my other instant pot Chicken and Root Veggies Soup