Sancocho with Homemade Sofrito

Sancocho is a traditional Puerto Rican stew. Sofrito is a classic Puerto Rican sauce with intense flavors. It is used as a base flavoring for many dishes, including sancocho (recipe above). There are many variations on sofrito. Some use only green peppers; others use red or call for a mix. Some recipes call for tomatoes; others do not. Feel free to modify this recipe depending on the peppers and other ingredients available to you.
September 01, 2014


Note: Adobo, yuca and plantains can be found at Latin American groceries and many larger supermarkets. Pre-made sofrito is also sometimes available.

Prepare the Sofrito

Purée in a food processor or blender until almost smooth. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Tip: Freeze any sofrito that you don’t use in small bags or jars and use later in soups and stews or with eggs, beans or meats—any time you want a burst of summer!


Make the Sancocho

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the meat over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, celery, squash or carrots and plantains and sauté for 5–7 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 3–5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the water, garlic, cilantro, herbs and spices and simmer until the meat is tender. When the meat is ready to eat, add the corn, yuca and peas and cook until all vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings as desired and serve with rice.

This recipe comes from Javier Mendez of Javier’s Bistro in South Bend, Indiana.

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1½ pounds stew meat, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces (Javier uses beef, but this dish could be made with chicken or pork.)
  • 1 large onion, diced in large pieces
  • ½ pound red potato, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced in large pieces
  • 1 cup summer squash or carrots, diced in large pieces
  • 1/3 pound plantain, sliced
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ¼ bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon adobo (see note above)
  • ¼ cup sofrito (see recipe below)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1/3 pound yuca, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion
  • 1 large sweet pepper (red or green)
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to taste—some recipes call for a whole head of garlic!)
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Ground cumin and salt to taste
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