Bill Kim’s Korican Sancocho Soup

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I love this soup. It mixes the best things: comfort with excitement; Korean spice with Puerto Rican nourishment;  smooth/mellow textures with crunchy/zesty accents. Beloved Chicago chefs Bill Kim and Yvonne Cadiz Kim, of  Urbanbelly, bellyQ, and Belly Shack,  frequently create dishes that merge elements from their cultural backgrounds. But this one is special for two more reasons: It originated with Yvonne’s mom Lola (Bill adapted it), and, it’s something that Bill likes to eat when looking for a comforting dish at home.

Make a BIG pot of this—the flavors deepen through the week. But get some extra sausage and chicken to add to the leftovers. “The first day we make this everybody picks out what they like best—the meats, usually,” says Bill. “So, after a day, I just cook more meat to add in.” And don’t skimp on the recommended garnishes! The hot sauce, lime juice, fresh cilantro, avocado, and plantain chips add brightness and fresh flavors to the mellow soup base: “The right accents over the top are what really makes this soup sing!”

Makes 12 servings (about 8 quarts)

Korican Sancocho Soup Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp grape-seed or canola oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (mild or spicy), casings removed
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 4 qts chicken or pork stock
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • ½ lb pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, cubed
  • 1 green plantain, peeled, cubed
  • 4 ears sweet corn, cut into 2-inch slices
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, or 3 tsp fresh, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Steamed long-grain white rice (enough for however many servings you are doing)
  • Plantain chips, Korean hot sauce and sliced avocado to garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add chicken thighs and sausage; cook until browned on all sides, breaking up sausage as it cooks.
  2. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until tomatoes are cooked down somewhat, 5 minutes.
  3. Add stock and both kinds of potatoes; heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, 1 hour. Add more stock if necessary.
  4. Add pumpkin or squash, plantain, corn, oregano and pepper to taste; simmer until meat is tender and vegetables have begun to break down a bit, 30-45 minutes. Allow soup to cool; refrigerate overnight.
  5. To serve, heat soup slowly. Add fish sauce; adjust seasoning to taste and stir in about 1/2 of the cilantro, reserving the rest to serve as a garnish.  Squeeze one lime wedge into pot; serve the other wedges as a garnish to the soup.
  6. Serve soup hot with rice, garnished with cilantro, lime, fried plantain chips, Korean hot sauce and avocado.


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