Food & Drink Magazine

Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

By Jannese Torres @delishdlites
Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

In Puerto Rico, one is said to be "sancochao" when you're all hot, burnt and sweaty after a day of stewing in the sun. That sentiment explains the concept of sancocho quite well, i.e. throw a bunch of delicious stuff into a pot and let it stew away. This one-pot wonder is a hearty stew with African and Native Taino influences, as both cultures are integral parts of the cultural makeup of Puerto Rico. Various meats can be used for this recipe, the most traditional features both beef and pork, along with a ham hock. I love a more delicate flavor, so I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which can cook for a long time without getting tough.

Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

Like any good stew, what goes into varies and everyone has their own favorite recipes. However, what sets sancocho apart from any stew is that it includes Sofrito seasoning and is filled with a variety of tropical root varieties as a starch: green plantain, squash or pumpkin, and at least two of the following: potatoes, Caribbean sweet potatoes (batata and/or ñame), yautía (malanga) or yuca (cassava). Corn on the cob and carrots are a popular addition as well. For convenience, I buy frozen yautía, yuca and ñame already peeled and chopped at my local Latin market.

Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

This recipe reminds me of my mom. She's a fantastic cook, and a stickler for making Puerto Rican food just like her mother and grandmother taught her. I think it drives her nuts when I improvise on her recipes. Sorry mom! Anyhow, when she's whipping up a Puerto Rican recipe that she hasn't made in a while, she pulls out her tattered, kitchen-stained copy of Cocine Conmigo, an old school Puerto Rican cookbook that she got as a wedding gift 35 years ago. No pictures, no fluff, just straight up ingredients and instructions, it reads almost like a Bible. I've already told her to leave me that book in the will, I want nothing else.

Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

I took some inspiration from the sancocho recipe in this book, and of course, I added my own spin (mom approved, though!) This sancocho is the perfect dish to warm your soul for colder days and is a popular meal to make for a large group. Make this next time you're in the mood for a warm, belly hug of a meal.

Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)


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