Cooking Latin food, Explaining Latin culture and blogging about it all

Sancocho de Costilla, Colombian Beef Soup perfect Hang Over Cure

Sancocho de Costilla

Sancocho de Costilla is a hearty soul soothing soup. Very popular in Cali, and coastal cities in Colombia. The beef rib based and lots of root veggies originated on the “fincas” or the farms. Colombinas in the countryside still cook it in a big pot on an open fire. San Chocho is served for big family meals and gatherings. It can feed a crowd multiple times even. The tastes gets better the second round.

My favorite time to make this soup is Sunday or when my latino in laws are watching soccer all day. I can cook once and lots of friends and sit back and enjoy the leftovers later too. The colder the beer the better to drink with sancocho or we even eat it as the ultimate hangover cure. The meaty broth and starch soaks up a night of too much fun.

Growing up in the state’s soup came out of a can, I had no concept of how amazing flavors could develop from the bones of the beef and time! Learning to cook different soups from south america has been such a joy and every spoonful. I’ll never eat soup out of can again.

The recipe itself is pretty easy to make the hardest part is preparing the starches. You can save time by purchasing frozen corn and yuca.I don’t think the flavor is the same but it will cut off some of the labor. Yuca and squash can be difficult to cut, use the sharpest biggest knife you have and sharpen it. I would not recommend attempting this is you don’t have a decent knife, might lose a finger.

Potatoes one of the best bite I recommend getting 2 kinds of potatoes the russet potatoes will “disappear” or dissolve in the broth making the soup thinker and texture. The red or yellow potatoes will hold up in the cooking process and make for yummy bites. If you can find the really small yellow potatoes like bite size those are fun to mix in too.

My recipe might differ slightly from the original because I have improved it and taken recommendations from friends all over Colombia and how their moms’ made it. One chef from Cali showed me how to marinate the meat in the red pepper, cilantro and green onion chop that is usually reserved for the finishing touch. After I started letting the meat sit in this amazing blend no reason to save it only for the end. The garlic and onion take the flavor profile even further.

One more note about the amount of liquid. It’s difficult to add all the ingredients and fit it all in one large pot. If you have an overflow situation, do NOT throw away the juice/broth. Have a bowl close by you can use as back up. Once you eat the soup down a little you can add it back and it makes it delicious. The very end of the pot or reheating you may need to add more water to make it soupy again.

The best serving has one piece of each of the root veggies and corn, a big hunk of rib accompanied by rice avocado and more cilantro. Some people even like a squeeze of lime in it. The is really no rules when eating serve with accompaniments on a plate so people can take big pieces out and cut on the plate and add rice and avocado back in.

Go back for second and repeat. The first time I ever made Sancocho it was trial by fire, we had 30 friends coming over before a Carlos Vives concert and I was the only white girl. Read my post on “how to survive a latin party” I had the ballsy idea to cook my favorite soup from the farm before the concert. I didn’t even know how to cut a plantain or yuca. It took me 4 hours but it was done in time and tasted amazing. I fed all 30 people and had left overs for when we can back tipsy for the after party. Really from that day forward I considered myself the gringa chef. If you like learning new recipes and cultures I’ll open your eye to what central and south America have to offer. Follow me @gringachef, FB, twitter. Use the #gringachef when you make your own latin creations. Just because you were not lucky enough to be born eating this good you can learn and enjoy.


Print Recipe
Sancocho de Costilla
hearty soulful Colombian Soup
  1. bring water to a boil, add squash and corn, cover and cook while prepping other indediants
    sancocho de costilla
  2. use a blender to mix red pepper, green onion, onion, garlic, half cilantro with a little water from the pot
  3. salt and pepper the beef short ribs
  4. pour blended mix over the meat, set away from the heat of the soup
    sancocho de costilla
  5. chop, peel, cut the potatoes, plantains, yuca. store in cold water so they don't brown.
    yuca, plantains, potatoes
  6. Add meat to the boiling water, stir, cover allow to cook 40 mins
  7. add beef bullion to small amount of hot water to disolve then add to the soup
  8. add cut potatoes both types, wait 10 mins then add yuca and plantains cook an 25 mins more
  9. when you can fork all ingredient and pierce to the middle its ready, turn off heat, add additional and full of chopped cilantro
  10. serve with rice, avocado, lime and more cilantro
Share this Recipe