Colombian Pork, Beef, and Chicken Soup (Puchero)

  • Serves

    serves 12


This recipe for a hearty soup made with cassava, beef, chicken, and pork is based on one in Secrets of Colombian Cooking by Patricia McCausland-Gallo (Hippocrene, 2004). This recipe appeared in our March 2011 issue with Dorothy Irwin's profile on cassava, Taking Root.


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 34 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus 3 whole
  • 12 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 3 14 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 14 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 14 tsp. ground cumin
  • 14 tsp. saffron
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 tbsp. minced cilantro, plus 5 sprigs
  • 1 12 lb. pork spareribs, cut into riblets
  • 1 lb. beef brisket, cut into 2″ cubes
  • (1) 3-4 lb. chicken
  • 2 lb. cassava, peeled and cut into 2″pieces
  • 2 lb. medium potatoes, peeled, quartered
  • 12 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 avocados, peeled, pitted, and quartered, for serving
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


Step 1

Heat oil in an 8″ skillet over medium heat. Add sliced scallions, tomatoes, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, pepper, cumin, saffron, and 2 cloves garlic; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. minced cilantro, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 20 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Place remaining salt and garlic, whole scallions and cilantro sprigs, spareribs, brisket, and chicken in a 12-qt. pot and cover with water by 1″. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Step 3

Remove chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces, and discard skin and carcass. Place chicken on a plate, cover, and set aside. Add cassava and potatoes to pot and cook for 10 minutes. Add cabbage, cover loosely, and cook until vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes. Return chicken to pot, stir in reserved scallion—tomato sauce, and season with salt and pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Ladle stew into large serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining minced cilantro. Serve with avocado and rice on the side.

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