El Puchero

El Puchero

David Loftus

Traditional Andina Broth. This classic recipe is served all over the Andes in homes and from street stalls. Traditionally, it’s eaten at carnival time, during February. The slow-cooked broth releases aromas that fill the air to mark the beginning of the festival season.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
100g piece of beef brisket
100g piece of pork loin
100g piece of lamb neck fillet
100g cecina, bresaola or air-dried ham
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 choclo corn or corn-on-the-cob, cut into 6 chunks
1 celery stick, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large potato, peeled
1 cassava or parsnip, peeled and halved
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 4–6 thick slices
1/2 head a green cabbage, cut into 2 wedges
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole. Add the onion and sauté over a high heat for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and add the garlic. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes until the garlic softens.
  2. Pour 1.5 litres of water into the casserole and add the chickpeas. Increase the heat and boil fiercely for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering gently. Add the 3 meat pieces, then watch for a few minutes and skim off any mushroom-coloured foam that collects on the surface of the water. You can stop watching when the foam becomes white (about 4–5 minutes). Half-cover the casserole with a lid and leave the soup to simmer for 30 minutes, then add the cecina (or alternative), oregano, choclo or corn cob, celery, carrot, potato, cassava or parsnip, and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper, half-cover again and simmer for a further 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Then, add the cabbage and cook for 3–4 minutes until the cabbage has wilted down but is still a fresh green colour. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  3. To serve, transfer all of the meat and vegetables to a big serving dish, pour over some of the hot broth and serve in the middle of the table, with the remaining hot broth on the side for everyone to help themselves.
Martin Morales
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