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‍‍‍Sancocho de Gallina ‍‍‍Recipe

June 8, 2018

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Sancocho de Gallina represents the spirit of community because to make the dish, everyone chips in and lends a helping hand, so everyone can eat.  Whether folks gather in the city, on the farm, or out at camp, Sancocho de Gallina is the dish cooked and served together, usually with rice and always with arepas—good with ‍‍‍whatever!

Chicken soup is a good thing. Soup in general feeds the body and restores one’s well-bein‍‍‍g because it is warm, welcoming, and filling. In Colombia, wherever there is a gathering of people, food will be found. It’s the same in every culture—we are human, so we ‍‍‍eat--but in Colombia, when there is a gathering of people, Sancocho de Gallina will be cooking on the fire. Now, why isn’t it Sancocho de Pollo? In Colombia, there is a distinction between chickens, male and female. Sancocho de Gallina is a dish made with female chickens, so the soup has a different flavor and a bit more oil from the bird than if it were made with a male chicken. The soup is always made in a pot, best cooked on an open fire, and the amount of the ingredients depends upon the number of people at the gathering.

Weekends in Colombia are usually spent on the family farm because pretty much, everyone has a connection to a farm not far from the city. Colombia has its roots in farming and agriculture; thus, it is not surprising to find folks headed out of the city to see family who holds down the connection to the land. The beautiful co‍‍‍untryside of Colombia is home to many edible plants and trees, such as plantains, various herbs, such as cilantro that grows wild, and chickens are never too far away to catch for a pot of soup.

As a gathering lends itself to many hands, everyone helps make dinner possible. When food is cooked over an open flame out on the farm or at camp, folks tend to lean toward doing the job they like the most. Some gather wood, others grab a chicken that they find. If the chicken is stolen, the soup is even better, because Sancocho de Gallina is better when the bird is from someone else’s farm—gallina robada. Plantains are picked and peeled then cut, cilantro is gathered, and onions are added to the pot. If someone has remembered to bring potatoes, into the pot they go, along with any other root ite‍‍‍m to be found, such as yucca. Garlic, leeks, salt and pepper, all join the party in the pot over an open flame. The whole of the ingredients cooks for several hours to marry the flavors, while the chicken slowly boils to completion.  Once done, the dish is served with rice and arepasgood with whatever!  



Try them with your favorite salsa, with butter or honey; stuff them with chicken, carne asada, or at breakfast with eggs and chorizo. You may also choose to try them in a car, in a tree, in a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train, or just plain...

In short, Arepas are an incredibly versatile and flexible treat that everyone in your family will enjoy!

  • 1 large chicken (4-6 lbs.), left whole or cut into several piece
  • Plenty of water to cover‍‍‍ the chicken with several inches to spare
  • 2-3  green onions roughly chopped, or left whole, or split down the center
  • ½ of a medium white onion well chopped
  • 1-2 leeks chopped in 1/8 inch rings        
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed (or more for taste)
  • 1-2 large potatoes peeled, depending upon the amount of plantain or yucca root to be added    
  • 1  to 2 cups (up to 16 ounces) of yucca root        
  • 1 to 2 unripe plantains cut diagonally      
  • ¼ tsp Cumin        
  • 2-3 tbsp of cilantro and parsley chopped        
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, there must be heat and a pot. Place enough water in a deep stock pot to cover the chicken that has already been placed inside the medium to large stock pot. Of course, the chicken will need to be washed and cleaned before it makes its debut into the pot. Add to the chicken in the pot with enough water to cover it plus some, the green onions, the white onion, some salt, at least a teaspoon or so, the chopped garlic and the leek. Put the fire on medium heat and let boil until the chicken is soft, but not overcooked.  Remove the chicken and all of the green vegetables and strain the broth. Place the strained broth and the chicken back into the pot, adding the potato and the yucca.  Let them cook until they are soft, but not overdone.  Finally, add the cut, unripe plantain, and let the soup thicken slowly. Check to taste for salt.  Add some pepper, then the cumin. The broth will thicken with the vegetables in it, much like a potato soup would do.  Once everything is cooked, the pot is taken off the heat and the chopped cilantro and parsley are added to the top. Serve the soup hot with cooked rice on the side, and of course, Arepaesgood with whatever!