Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sancocho de Espinazo (Pork neck bones Colombian Soup)

This Sancocho is a hearty soup, slow cooked and full of flavor. It is normally cooked on Sundays over open fires for family luncheons. It is served with white rice, avocado, patacones, salad and aji.

Ingredients for 6 servings

2 pounds pork neck bones (Espinazo)
1 pound red potatoes peeled and cut into pieces (quartered)
2 big green plantains peeled and cut into pieces (3 inches)
1 pound Yuca peeled and cut into  pieces.  (Frozen work as well)
4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
2 cups fresh corn kernels or 3 ears corn on the cob cut into pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions minced
2 ripe tomatoes finely minced
1 beef bouillon cube
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric or achiote color
1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 pinch chili flakes
1/2 cup minced cilantro
10 cups water
salt and pepper

Wash the pork neck bones and cut them into pieces, rub with the minced garlic, salt and pepper and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large stock pot place 10 cups of water and add the meat. Bring to a boil and cook covered over medium high for 45 minutes. We want the meat very tender. You can use a pressure cooker with less water and cook for 25 minutes, transfer to a stock pot and add the rest of the water. Remove the fat released with a spoon.

Add the potatoes, plantains and corn and cook for 30 minutes.

In the meantime in a pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and fry the onion for 3 minutes, add the tomato, cumin, turmeric or achiote, liquid smoke and chili flakes and beef bouillon. Cook for 8 minutes until it becomes a paste.

Once the potatoes and plantains are fork tender, add the tomato-onion paste and yuca and cook for 20 -25 minutes until the yuca is very soft but still firm. Note that if  you use frozen yuca it will take about 15 minutes.  The soup needs to thicken a bit and it's ok if some of the potatoes or platains have dissolved.

Taste and add salt and pepper. Stir the cilantro in.

Serve in soup bowls with aji and avocado slices and rice and patacones on the side. Make sure each portion gets all the ingredients.