Usually in the middle of Autumn, but whenever the temperatures drop, I crave sancocho, a Puerto Rican stew typically consisting of beef and root vegetables. I leave out the beef, of course, and while there are ingredients that are traditional for sancocho, because it’s a stew, you really can throw in any root veggies you have on hand, and it will still taste great.

To be honest, I don’t really measure when I toss veggies in the pot, but I’ve given you approximate portions here. Also, I usually opt for the full-size guineos (green cooking bananas), but the spouse came home with the babies, and I thought they would look adorable. Growing up, we didn’t often add the sweet plantain, because the corn and sweet potatoes tend to add enough sweetness, but I added a couple this time because they needed to be cooked.

Sancocho ingredients by Heart of Pixie (1024x712)

Some of the hearty ingredients that went into my recent batch of sancocho: yautia, potato, sweet potato, butternut squash, green bananas, green plantains, yellow plantains, corn, yuca.



1-2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons sofrito (recipe coming soon)

1-2 tablespoons tomato paste




1/2 large Spanish onion, finely chopped

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

¼ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

½ green bell pepper, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons tomato paste


4-6 cups vegetable stock

adobo (or your favorite all-purpose seasoning), to taste



1-2 green plantains, cut into rounds

1-2 yellow plantains, cut into rounds
2 green guineos (or 8 baby bananas), cut into rounds
3-4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3-4 carrots, cut into rounds
1 ñame, peeled and cubed
1 yautia lila, peeled and cubed (I think the pink yautia, also known as taro, is the yummiest.)
1 yuca, peeled and cubed

1 butternut squash, cubed

1-2 cobs of corn, cut into miniature cobs



  1. Heat olive oil on medium/high; add sofrito and tomato paste OR onion, garlic, green bell pepper, cilantro, and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the broth.
  2. Throw in everything else and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer, covered or partly covered, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and cook for 20 or 30 minutes more. You want to cook until your veggies are tender but not a mass of mush; I’ve left it cooking on low for an hour and a half before, and it came out great (and that way I was certain that the yuca was cooked all the way through). I find that stews don’t lend themselves to precision, so just keep an eye on it and stir it every so often.
  5. Serve on its own, on a bed of rice, or with avocado and tomato slices.
  6. Enjoy the hearty warmth!

Pot of sancocho by Heart of Pixie