Colombian Pork, Beef, and Chicken Soup (Puchero)

Pork, Beef, and Chicken Soup (Puchero)
Pork, Beef, and Chicken Soup (Puchero)
This hearty soup is made with cassava, beef, chicken, and pork.Todd Coleman

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.

Colombian Pork, Beef, and Chicken Soup (Puchero)
This hearty sparerib, brisket, and whole chicken soup gets creamy, luscious consistency from cassava—a starchy, tuberous root native to South America.
Yield: serves 12

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in an 8″ skillet over medium heat. Add sliced scallions, tomatoes, 14 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.
  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.
  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.