Sancocho with aji

Sancocho with aji

  • Preparation Time40 mins
  • Cooking Time75 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyMedium

For the aji

8 spring onions, white and light green part only, finely chopped
25g fresh corriander leaves, finely chopped
1/2 small Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, seeded finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped white onion
2 tsps fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
200ml water
1 small plum tomato, cored, finely chopped, optional

For the soup

3 tbsps olive oil
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 large tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1kg chicken thighs, skin and excess fat removed
1kg beef flanken ribs (also called cross-cut ribs)
2 green plantains, peeled, cut into 5cm-long pieces
2 ripe plantains, peeled, cut into 5cm-long pieces
1 large bunch fresh coriander, stems tied together with kitchen twine
3.5L homemade or tinned low-sodium chicken stock
750g small red or white potatoes, peeled
350g diced pumpkin or butternut squash
10 (5cm) long pieces frozen yucca
4 ears of corn, husked, quartered
White rice, for serving, optional
1 medium Hass avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, sliced for serving, optional
Arepas or tortillas, for serving, optional
1) Place the coriander, spring onions, chillies, onions, lime juice and 200ml water in a small glass bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the tomato, if using, season with salt to taste and stir all of the ingredients together. Cover and set the aji aside at room temperature for several hours to allow the flavours to release into the liquid, then refrigerate until serving.

2) Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they're soft and transparent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme, and continue to cook 5 more minutes.

3) Add the chicken and the beef ribs and cook until the tomatoes have disintegrated, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming the foam from the top of the stock when necessary. Add the green plantains, coriander and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the plantains are tender, 30 minutes.

4) Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, ripe plantains, yucca and corn and simmer, uncovered, until both are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the coriander leaves and the bay leaves and return the chicken to the pot to re-heat it.

To serve, arrange a piece of chicken, some beef, plantains and a few pieces of yucca and potato on each plate. Serve the stock in a small bowl and the aji sauce on the side, along with a bowl of rice, corn, some avocados and arepas or tortillas on separate plates.

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