A stew made up of mainly root vegetables seasoned with Puerto Rican ingredients like sofrito and sazón... I know my mouth is watering as well. This stew is typically made with meat like beef or chicken and you will find a variation of this dish within the Caribbean and Latin American countries due to the African Diaspora. Don't fret! Because today I am going to show you my easy to make a plant-based version of sancocho right in your own home kitchen.
Prior to my vegan transition, I'd typically eat this made by my Mami or Welita during the colder months served with white rice and avocado for some freshness to this dish. Now that I eat a completely plant-based diet I like to make this without the meat and tweak it just a bit to help bring some of that fat that you'd find in the latter. It is equally as delicious and is what I like to call a "set-it-and-forget-it" kind of dish, and if you know me you know that I am a super busy guy that doesn't like to stand over the stove all day.
A few quick notes before we jump right into the recipe:
This recipe's ingredient list is a lengthy one! But do not let that frighten you from trying it out. The hardest part is gathering everything, once you've done that all you really need to do is toss it in a large pot and let it cook on its own.
I realize many of us do not have access to a lot of the vegetables used in this recipe, that is why I recommend checking out your local Asian or International market's frozen section and/or vegetable section–it's the only place I can find all of these things in the south. Typically they sell a pre-frozen bag for sancocho with all of the vegetables prechopped, which is a win-win.
YOU CAN FREEZE THIS! I am not a leftover kind of person all of the time, meaning I don't really like to eat the same dinner twice in a row. Thankfully sancocho freezes perfectly! So whether your a household of 1 or 2 or just want to save the rest for a later date, I highly recommend storing in microwaveable storage and then wrapping that in a plastic bag for further preservation. I typically will eat this up to 1 month after I've stored it.
Grab your largest caldero (soup pot), your sazón, and let's get to cooking!
2-3 cups water or vegetable broth (low or no sodium)
2-3 tbsps olive oil
1-2 tbsps vegan butter or margarine
1/2 large onion, diced or sliced
6-8 large garlic cloves, minced or pureed
1/4 cup sofrito (or about 2-3 ice cubes of sofrito)
1 tbsp sazón
2 tbsps adobo (season to taste)
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup Spanish tomato sauce (or regular tomato sauce)
1-2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 green plantains, peeled and sliced
2 ripe plantains, peel and sliced
1 medium or large yuca (cassava), peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium or large yautia
2 yellow corn on the cob, cut
1/2 small calabaza, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large or medium russet or yellow potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large or medium sweet potato, cut into chunks
Preheat your large soup pot on medium-high heat. Add your olive oil and follow with onions to sauté. Once onions are translucent and fragrant, add in your sofrito, tomato sauce, and bouillon cube(s). Then mix in your seasonings. Allow this mixture to cook up for a few minutes.
Add your chopped vegetables and combine with the seasoned mix before adding in your water or vegetable broth and bringing it to a boil. Once your stew begins to rapidly boil, add in your butter and mix in–this will help give us the fat that most stews with meat would have.
Lower heat, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer for 35 mins. to 1-hour. Use a ladle or large spoon to mix around once or twice while cooking. Once the stew is finished your vegetables should be fork-tender and fragrant.
Serve over white rice, avocado, minced cilantro, and an optional lime for added freshness.